The Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) has rejected a request from the Royal Academy for Judicial Professionals to provide observers at the upcoming exam for new judges and prosecutors, according to a letter posted to the unit’s website on Sunday.
The letter, dated Friday and signed by ACU chairman Om Yentieng, said the corruption watchdog would not oversee the annual test on December 8 and 9 because the school had not cooperated with the ACU in the past.
“I wish to tell his excellency that the Anti-Corruption Unit declines to join in observing the seventh examination of the judicial students because the Royal Academy for Judicial Professionals has no desire to cooperate with the Anti-Corruption Unit,” said the letter, which was addressed to Chhurn Praloeng, the academy’s director.
The letter did not elaborate on how the academy, which is overseen by the Justice Ministry, had failed to cooperate with the anti-graft unit. Mr. Yentieng could not be reached on Sunday.
Mr. Praloeng said on Sunday that he planned to meet with the ACU to seek a resolution between the two bodies, as the Justice Ministry required that the test be monitored by both ministry and ACU officials.
“We have always cooperated with the Anti-Corruption Unit in past exams,” he said. “The exam requires observers to be present, and I will meet with the Anti-Corruption Unit on Monday to discuss the case and will ask for an explanation as to what they want us to do.”
Am Sam Ath, technical supervisor for rights group Licadho, said that safeguards against corruption in the exam for new judges and prosecutors was a crucial step in removing graft from a court system that has little public trust.
“Judges are an essential part of the court system in our country and if the examination is irregular and corrupt, it will negatively affect the judicial system because people constantly criticize our court system,” he said.
“The ACU plays an important role in the national high school exam every year, and the judge exam is even more important because the professionalism of the court system is at stake.”