Senate Passes Article 51 With NA Amendments

The Senate passed Friday an amended version of Article 51 of the civil servants code that will require a state employee’s boss to be notified within three days if the worker is arrested, charged or detained.

Thirty-three of forty-seven senators voted in favor of the version amended by the National Assem­bly earlier this week.

The amended version does not specifically say whether a worker’s superior must be notified 72 hours before or 72 hours after the charges or arrest.

Previously, Article 51 mandated that permission to arrest an employee of the state must be obtained from their boss before charges can be filed or a worker detained.

Opposition party Assembly and Senate members had argued that the amended law provides enough time between the deparment head’s notification and actual arrest to allow the accused to escape.Kong Korm, a Sam Rainsy Par­ty senator who wanted the law thrown out, said the amendment leaves “a hole for bad government employees.”

Funcipec Senator Kem Sokha demanded during Friday’s debate that prosecutors be required to notify an employee’s superior only after the arrest, detention or charge has been made.

Putting the term “after” in the law will give the courts independence, he said.

Supporters of the law, however, downplayed concerns.

“This law is good,” said CPP Senator Chey Cheth. “It gives full power to the court to make an arrest or charge with no need to ask for permission like before.”

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