Court President Dismisses Critic as ‘Show Off’

The president of Phnom Penh Municipal Court lashed out on Thursday over a Ministry of Jus­tice secretary of state’s criticism of the country’s judicial system, saying the politician was simply showing off.

Earlier this month, Funcinpec Sec­retary of State Tuot Lux de­cried the widespread corruption he said was plaguing the country’s courts and blamed the problem on a shortage of trained and scru­pulous judges and prosecutors.

“A judge doesn’t show off and is not proud,” Municipal Court President Sor Suphary said in his chambers Thursday after being asked about the criticism emerging from the Justice Minis­try.

“Only politicians show off and are proud,” said Sor Suphary, who refused to elaborate further about Tuot Lux’s comments.

“A judge can’t be interviewed because I don’t want people to hear what I have to say,” he said. “I just work. I only know how to work. Let people criticize.”

Reached by telephone on Thurs­day, Tuot Lux said he was too busy to comment on the grow­ing spat with the country’s judges.

Tuot Lux said earlier this month that the Justice Ministry had received many complaints about the courts and that the Phnom Penh Municipal Court was at the top of the list of criticism.

With just 120 judges and 65 prosecutors across the country, many of them undertrained and overworked, Cambodia lacks enough court officials to deal with the sheer volume of cases passing through the legal system, justice officials said.

A total of 2,276 criminal cases and 11,243 civil cases are currently waiting to be heard in court, Ministry of Justice Secretary of State Y Dan told a conference last week.


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