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Council Approves Draft Penal Code

The Council of Ministers on Friday green-lighted a draft law to adjust the national penal code, paving the way for passage by the National Assembly and potentially paving the way for anti-corruption legislation.

The 672-article draft code is designed to respond to “various modern crimes” and to ensure “the rights, freedom, dignity, social security and public order for people,” the Council of Ministers said in a statement.

An outdated penal code has obstructed the passage of anti-corruption laws donors have urged for years.

Council spokesman Phay Siphan said the draft code would protect the public interest and set up anti-corruption legislation.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said in public remarks Wednesday an anti-corruption law would follow the passage of the penal code, which must now be passed by the National Assembly.

“This penal code is better than the old penal code,” said Sok Samoeun, executive director of Cambodian Defenders Project, adding that the draft code could be more easily implemented.

However, Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Yim Sovann said while the penal code looked good on paper, its proper implementation was a concern.