PHNOM PENH —
The Council of Ministers on Friday approved three long-awaited draft laws on judicial reform, green-lighting them for debate at the National Assembly.
The laws deal with a reorganization of the courts, the functions of the judicial oversight body called the Supreme Council of Magistracy, and the roles and duties of judges and prosecutors.
The laws were made “for the sake of good governance and the rule of law,” government spokesman Phay Siphan said Friday. “It’s important to service justice and equality in society.”
Critics of the laws say they do not go far enough to overhaul the judicial system, which is widely mistrusted as corrupt and politically biased.
In the draft law on the Supreme Council of Magistracy, one provision calls for the council members to be proposed by the Minister of Justice. The draft on judges and prosecutors puts them under the administration of the Ministry of Justice.
Sok Sam Oeun, head of the Cambodian Defenders Project, said the ministry has sought to extend its authority in the new drafts. “But they were not clear enough on the draft laws on the organization of the courts and on the status of judges and prosecutors,” he said.
Phay Siphan said the drafts were inspired by the French judicial system and will be sent to the National Assembly for debate next week.