A ceremony to appoint four new Phnom Penh Municipal Court officials—and remove five others-—is to be held today, Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana said Wednesday.
Ang Vong Vathana said that Supreme Court Judge Chiv Keng will replace judge Sor Suphary—who is retiring—as the next director of the municipal court after receiving the appointment from the Supreme Council of Magistracy.
Outgoing Municipal Court judges Tan Senarong, Kim Sophorn, Bunninh Bunnary and Nop Sophon will be transferred to the Ministry of Justice until they are found other judicial posts in the provinces, the minister said.
“They are [to be] reprimanded for a while first,” he said. “It is the punishment by the Disciplinary Council [under the Supreme Council of Magistracy] for their wrongdoings.”
Ang Vong Vathana would not disclose what the court officials’ alleged wrongdoings were.
New recruit Sok Kalyan of Prey Veng province, who will work as a deputy prosecutor at the municipal court, said that he is looking forward to his new responsibilities.
“I hope I will face a lot of complicated cases,” Sok Kalyan said. “I am not worried…because now it is the stage of reforming the law and the court systems.”
He said the Supreme Council of Magistracy picked him for the job because of his qualifications. “I have never been wrong and the people have never sued me,” he said.
Tan Senarong said he would know which provincial court he is to work for after a meeting of the Council of Magistracy presided over by King Norodom Sihamoni before the end of the month.
Nop Sophon, 59, the municipal court’s outgoing deputy director, said he had “no idea” where he might be transferred to since he is nearing the court’s official retirement age of 60. “I am already old…but if they still need me, I can continue,” he said.
However, after 20 years on the bench, Nop Sophon said that immediate retirement may not be such a bad prospect because he is tired of the criticism inherent with the job.
“This place is not easy,” he said. “We are fed up with it.”