New Municipal Court Director Vows To Reform

Before a crowd of more than 100 court officials attending the appointment ceremony of Chiv Keng as the new director of Phnom Penh’s Mu­nicipal Court on Thursday, Su­preme Court President Dith Munty told judges, prosecutors and court clerks that they must work independently, honestly and without bias.

“Judges and prosecutors must be independent, meaning they must not be under the control and influence of other people,” said Dith Mun­­ty, who is also a member of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling CPP and sits on the party’s powerful steering committee.

“In principle, a judge and a prosecutor must fulfill their work independently, based on fact evaluation and knowledge of the law,” he said.

The pep talk on good behavior was given as Chiv Keng replaced 62-year-old Sor Suphary, who is re­tiring from the municipal court.

Dith Munty also warned court of­ficials against exhibiting unsavory behavior.

“If a judge or a prosecutor has be­havior that is not dignified, it will da­mage the reputation of the whole ju­diciary institution,” he said.

In his acceptance speech Chiv Keng vowed to “control, reform and eliminate” irregularities in the handling of cases.

“As we already know, there are a lot of irregular cases that the government and the people are not happy with. And this causes people to lose trust in the court,” he said.

Appealing for more judges and funding for the court, Chiv Keng said there were now at the Phnom Penh court almost 10,000 cases waiting to be tried.

Lawyer Kao Soupha said that battling corruption within the judiciary would take more than words, given the systemic nature of the problem.

“It is not easy. All civil servants are corrupt,” Kao Soupha said.

“We have little hope because corruption is already the culture [of the court],” he said.


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