Official: No Law Backs Forced Retirement Plan

Though documents show the government has planned to retire 31 judges and prosecutors as part of the CPP’s deal with Funcinpec to end last year’s political gridlock, a senior government official said there is no law to enforce the plan.

Last week, 31 judges and prosecutors, all between 60 and 80 years old, were surprised to learn they had been taken off the government’s payroll without notification.

One of them, Appeals Court Pro­se­cutor-General Hanrot Ra­ken, went so far as to hand his job over to his deputy, Kong Srim, and walk out of the office, though he has since re­turned to work.

Justice Minister Ang Vong Va­tha­na said the 31 names were re­moved from the government’s pay­roll be­cause of a computer error that had been fixed by Wednesday.

“Their names have been reinstalled,” Ang Vong Vathana said. “It was a computer problem. They are not being placed in retirement.”

“To place them in retirement, we must wait until the law comes out,” he said.

But while there may have been a computer error, a government document suggests that there is a plan to re­tire the judges and prosecutors.

“The judges [and prosecutors] who are 60 years old and up shall be placed in retirement,” reads ar­ticle 15 of the Funcinpec and CPP government platform signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on July 16, a copy of which was obtained Wednesday.

The platform states that the re­tirements are one step toward bringing about judicial reform.

The list of retirees includes eight Supreme Court officials and four members of the Supreme Council of Magistracy.

One court official named on the list said he would not oppose his forced retirement—once there was a law and established procedures.

“But please deal with us according to the law,” said Sihanoukville De­puty Chief Prosecutor Chhun Ngorn, 64, on Wednesday.

According to a law governing the mandatory retirement of civil servants, employees are required to re­tire when they are 55 years old un­less a special statute is in­voked al­lowing them to retire at age 60. Judicial and legislative em­ployees, however,  are exempt from the law.

 

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