Row Over Proctors Delays Judges Exam

The Ministry of Justice on Monday decided to indefinitely postpone the seventh annual exam for judges and prosecutors after a request for observers was rebuffed by a slighted Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU).

On Friday, the ACU issued a letter saying that it had rejected a request from the Royal Academy for Judicial Professionals to provide proctors for its December 8 and 9 exam because the academy “has no desire to cooperate with the Anti-Corruption Unit,” without elaborating.

Students walk into the Royal Academy for Judicial Professionals in Phnom Penh on Monday. (Jens Welding Ollgaard/The Cambodia Daily)
Students walk into the Royal Academy for Judicial Professionals in Phnom Penh on Monday. (Jens Welding Ollgaard/The Cambodia Daily)

In its own statement on Monday, the Justice Ministry, which oversees the academy, said it had convened a meeting, attended by academy director Chhurn Praloeng, to discuss the impasse.

Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana, the statement said, “decided during the meeting that the Royal Academy for Judicial Professionals will delay the date of the seventh exam for new judges, and to send a working group to inspect the procedures and conduct of past exams in order to guarantee transparency and justice.”

The minister’s cabinet chief, Sorn Sophoan, declined to say when the test might take place.

The head of the ACU’s investigation department, Khun Sambo, said the unit had turned down the request for observers because of its experience helping the academy run an exam for court clerks a few months ago.

“We insisted that the Royal Academy put a camera in every examination room, but they refused. And when we made suggestions on how to make the exam better, they accused us of interfering in their internal affairs,” Mr. Sambo said.

“Some monitors and supervisors stared at the ACU observers and looked down on them…. That’s why my boss was not happy,” he said, noting that

Mr. Praloeng, the academy’s director, was close with the justice minister.

Mr. Sambo also accused the academy of trying to hide its misconduct.

“They are afraid we will get inside the house and find the irregularities,” he said.

In his defense, Mr. Praloeng said that not all testing conditions were within his control.

“These problems happened in the past and we already solved them,” he said, without giving details. “In the name of the Royal Academy, I don’t have the right to make every decision. Please think about it. I don’t care, so the ACU can say what it wants.”

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