The nine-member Supreme Council of Magistracy will decide if and how to discipline suspended court officials once an investigation into alleged bribe-taking is completed, Justice Minister Uk Vithun said Wednesday.
“The Supreme Council of the Magistracy will scrutinize this matter but we have yet to decide what will be done as it needs to be more thoroughly examined,” Uk Vithun said following a meeting of Cambodia’s highest judiciary body. “If nothing is found they will be returned to their previous positions. But if we find them guilty the disciplinary council will punish them.”
Uk Vithun, a member of the Supreme Council, has been criticized by some for unilaterally suspending two top municipal court officials. He reiterated Wednesday his ministerial right to suspend Municipal Court Director Oum Sarith and chief prosecutor Kann Chhoeun. He added that the results of a Justice Ministry inquiry into court corruption should be completed shortly.
Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara launched the court corruption crackdown two weeks ago, alleging that seven court officials had received a total of $311,000 in bribes in 20 high-profile cases alone. Prime Minister Hun Sen followed with a directive to rearrest criminals and suspects freed by the courts. About 50 suspects and criminals have been rearrested, possibly to be tried, retried or finish their prison sentences.