NGOs to Petition King Over Judicial Laws

A group of civil society organizations will petition King Norodom Sihamoni today, calling on the king to withhold his signature from three judicial laws that they say will entrench the ruling CPP’s control of the courts and jeopardize citizens’ constitutional freedoms.

Despite concern raised by local and international NGOs, the judicial laws passed without change in the single-party National Assembly and the Senate over the past two months and were deemed constitutional by the CPP-stacked Constitutional Council two weeks ago.

Only King Sihamoni’s signature is needed for the bills to pass into law.

Sia Phearum, director of the Housing Rights Task Force, one of the six NGOs involved in tomorrow’s petitioning, said that although the groups do not expect the king to heed their call, they hope to raise their objections publicly before the laws are ratified.

“If the king still signs under pressure, we cannot stop the king from signing, but at least we can show we brought this issue to the public,” he said.

Mr. Phearum predicted that 50 to 80 people would turn out to hand the petition to the Royal Palace.

“We think that [authorities] will try to block us, but we will just try to deliver this to the king.”

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