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Task Force Formed to Review Courts

Cambodia will establish a team to review the courts and allegations of corruption, at the initiative of the Ministry of Interior, officials said Tuesday.

The main issue was the release by the courts without due process of alleged criminals arrested by police, a ministry spokesman said.

In a Sept. 4 letter obtained by VOA Khmer, Prime Minister Hun Sen names 26 officials from the ministries of Justice and Interior and from the military police to work as members of the task force.

In cases where files involve serious conditions or complications, these must be reported to Hun Sen for review, according to the letter. The task force will also be allowed to copy case files for inspection and analysis.

Lt. Gen. Khieu Sopheak, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said the ministry had requested the task force to learn why some suspects were released on bail or acquitted by the courts.

Ke Sakhan, deputy chief of Phnom Penh Municipal Court and a presiding judge, declined to comment directly, saying he had not seen Hun Sen’s letter.

“We work in accordance with procedure,” he said.

Other court officials could not be reached for comment.

News of the task force comes following the acquittal last month of a former military police official, Chea Ratha, and six others accused in an acid attack on the aunt of a beauty queen.