Sixty-three new students graduated Monday from the Royal School for Judges and Prosecutors and will begin working in 21 provincial and municipal courts around the country as paid interns for a year, according to the school’s director, Vann Phann.
The graduates—21 prosecutors and 42 judges—have already chosen which courts they would like to intern at, Mr Phann said, adding that the best students were allowed to pick their internships first.
The interns, who do not have authority to make legal decisions during their first year, still need to be confirmed by the Supreme Council of Magistracy later this month, Mr Phann said. He said that he was uncertain how much the graduates would be paid as interns, but added that they will be paid $350 per month when they officially begin working for the courts.
Ny Chandy, a lawyer at Legal Aid of Cambodia, said Wednesday that he saw improvements in this year’s graduates over those in previous years.
“At least, they can do the work better than before,” Mr Chandy said, adding that most of the country’s first court officials were chosen because “they were high school teachers,” while some had studied law in the former socialist bloc countries.
“There is change that we noticed—the knowledge. They can use valid laws to base their decisions,” Mr Chandy said. He added that when the government passes the long-awaited anticorruption law, “we will see good changes in the judiciary system.”
Last month, the Royal Academy for Judicial Profession, which oversees the Royal School for Judges and Prosecutors, vehemently denied accusations voiced in a media report that students paid bribes between $20,000 and $30,000 to pass entrance exams to enroll in the school.
The Academy’s director, Tep Darong, declined to comment on Wednesday, while Mr Phann said that the report was “defamatory.”
“There was not a clear basis. It affects the dignity of the institution that does the work correctly,” Mr Phann said.