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Cambodia Hopes to Expand Alternative ‘Justice Centers’

  • Chun Sakada
  • VOA Khmer

Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana told a workshop in Phnom Penh that at least 30 “justice service offices” have already been set up with more expected next year.

Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana told a workshop in Phnom Penh that at least 30 “justice service offices” have already been set up with more expected next year.

Cambodia hopes to establish conflict resolution centers in every district across the country by 2012 to keep people out of unnecessary court cases and unburden parts of the overloaded judiciary, officials said Wednesday.

Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana told a workshop in Phnom Penh that at least 30 “justice service offices” have already been set up with more expected next year. The service centers are especially geared to cases that would benefit the poor, women and minorities, who “lack access to justice,” he said.

The centers act as arbiters for conflict resolution, especially in land disputes, family conflicts, domestic violence, marriage annulment or divorce and other small disputes.

Aparna Basnyat, a UNDP representative from the regional office in Bangkok, said the centers resulted in faster settlement of cases, lower costs for participants and were more likely to be used because they are less intimidating than the courts.

A justice center in Stung district, Kampong Thom province, has solved two of four cases, said district governor Hang Sithim, who said he had also put out complaint boxes in villages to help people resolve disputes and concerns.

Y Sahak, governor of Kroch Chmar district in Kampong Cham province, said he was looking forward to getting a center established there.

“I want the justice service office in the district to help solve the people’s disputes without their spending time and money,” Y Sahak said. “People don’t want to pay more or spend more time at the courts. The people want to solve their disputes in the district faster than in the court.”

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