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Inspections Set for Judicial, Prison Police

Cambodia’s prosecutor-general for the Appeals Court is preparing to inspect judicial police nationwide later this month, to improve procedures related to detention of suspects and prisoners as part of the implementation of a new penal code.

The penal code procedures were approved by the National Assembly in February 2007.

In part, the new code provides authority to the prosecutor-general to inspect the implementation of the code by judicial police “to avoid wrongdoing,” the prosecutor-general, Hang Roraken, told VOA Khmer Friday. “Those police have carried out their duties in conformity with the law, but we must fulfill our duty with the law.”

National police spokesman Keath Chan Tharith said officers were prepared to cooperate with the inspection.

“This inspection is aimed at correction and improvement,” he said. “This work is a good activity.”

Chan Saveth, a rights investigator for Adhoc, said the inspection was something non-governmental organizations had needed.

Judicial and prison authorities were responsible for wrongdoings ranging from keeping suspects beyond legal detention periods to killing prisoners through torture, he said.

“If the prosecutor-general is prepared to inspect the judicial police, this is a good thing, because some articles of the new penal code are not properly implemented yet,” he said.

Inspections could prevent torture of suspects under arrest, said Sim Vibol, the Asian Human Rights Commission’s country coordinator. “From now on, the prosecutor-general will use its power in conformity with the law to prevent acts of torture.”

Hang Roraken said the UN human rights office will participate in the inspection, to confirm Cambodia has not tortured prisoners.