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Ministry Wraps Up Court Investigation

The Ministry of Justice has completed a one-day investigation into possible wrongdoings in Kampong Speu provincial court, but officials said Wednesday they were not ready to release their findings.

Residents of the province had complained with local officials of the Ministry of Environment out the court prosecutors, but Ministry of Justice investigator So Chanthy said it was too early to comment.

“When I’m finished with legal actions, I can freely answer your questions,” he said.

Kampong Speu Governor Kang Hearng and a senior police official had met with ministry investigators during a single-day inquiry, he said.

The investigation comes following allegations that the courts were supporting illegal logging and extorting money from small businesses and residents.

Court chief Klot Pich could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but he has denied the allegations in the past.

Judges who are found guilty of wrongdoing will ultimately answer to the Supreme Council of Magistracy, but such prosecutions are rare, said Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights.

“So far, if there are many complaints, or protests, from people, the actions taken are just surface punishments,” he said, “just pulling out of one place to fill up another.”