The Royal Academy for Judicial Professions is seeking 15 judges and prosecutors to attend training for the much-anticipated commercial court, officials said.
Applications for the 235-hour course in enterprise, accounting and commerce law will be accepted until Sept 29, the academy’s Director Tep Darong said Friday, although the draft law that would create a commercial court has yet to be finalized.
“We will train them before the court’s creation,” Tep Darong said. “If the law comes out, there will already be judges ready to work.”
The Ministry of Commerce first proposed creating a commercial court in late 2002 as part of Cambodia’s bid to join the World Trade Organization, which it achieved without having established the court in 2004.
If created, an independent commercial court could provide legal recourse for investors, offering a more secure and attractive environment for foreign entrepreneurs, supporters say. Draft forms of the law to establish the court that circulated in 2005 surprised donors by assigning all disputes involving the government to an administrative council made up of staff from the Council of Ministers.
Kith Meng, president of the Phnom Penh Chamber of Commerce, said Sunday that he was confident the court will be established and that it will function independently.
“We are looking forward to it coming into place. It will come very soon,” the media and telecommunications tycoon said, adding that the chamber of commerce has been working with the government to create the court.
Sok Sam Oeun, director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, said he believes a commercial court would attract more foreign investment, but added the court must be free from political interference. “We’re concerned about corruption,” he said.
SRP leader Sam Rainsy also expressed concern that the court would suffer the same problems as other Cambodian courts.
“We have been waiting for judicial reform for a long time, and nothing has happened,” he said. “As long as the existing courts are not independent, any new court will reflect the same problems.”
Nonetheless, Sam Rainsy said he would vote to create the law if it came before the National Assembly.
“We need the court at least on paper. We have to prepare the tools [for reform],” he said.