Oddar Meanchey and Pailin provinces next month will have their first functional courts, which will have jurisdiction over all legal cases in the provinces, officials said yesterday.
Currently, all cases in Oddar Meanchey province come under the jurisdiction of the Siem Reap Provincial Court, while cases in Pailin province fall under the Battambang Provincial Court.
Sam Pracheameanith, cabinet chief for Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana, said the Ministry of Justice would open the two provincial courts in January.
“We have enough judges and staff to make the two provincial courts functional,” Mr Pracheameanith said.
He explained that Banteay Meanchey Provincial Court Judge Eak Phalla would become Oddar Meanchey Provincial Court director, Siem Reap court Judge Suos La, would be his deputy court director, while Battambang Provincial Court deputy prosecutor Kouy Kanya would become prosecutor in Oddar Meanchey.
Kompong Thom Provincial Court Judge Chum Sar would become the court director in Pailin and Kompong Cham deputy prosecutor Chum Sen Sothea would be appointed Pailin Provincial Court prosecutor, Mr Pracheameanith said.
Vath Paramin, Oddar Meanchey provincial administration director, hailed the creation of the new provincial court.
“I think that it will be very convenient for the people here,” he said.
Sok Sam Oeun, director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, also said the courts would enable the local population to seek legal recourse nearby.
“The people there are very poor. If they have a court, it’s easy for them to access,” he said.
When asked, Mr Sam Oeun said he did not think the creation of new courts would add pressure on court officials, who are often already dealing with a heavy caseload.
“These provinces are very small. They don’t need a lot of staff,” he said.
Mr Sam Oeun added that the government planned to eventually create courts in all provinces and districts.
Sa Thlai, chief of Oddar Meanchey’s community forestry network, said the court could make a big difference for him and his fellow forest monitors.
He explained that when they were summoned to appear as victims of an assault at the court in Siem Reap on three occasions this year, they had to spend a total of $2,000 on travel costs.
“I am very satisfied with the news that the court here will operate,” he said.