Prime Minister Hun Sen advocating for Asean justice reforms

PHNOM PENH (The Phnom Penh Post/ANN) - Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday lauded the government’s constant collaboration between the judicial and the executive branches of government.

He warned the Asean bloc that its members could lose control of their
judicial systems if criminal prosecutors did not coordinate the issuing
of warrants and appeals with the government.

Hun Sen made his comments in Siem Reap during the opening of
the 12th Asean-China Prosecutors-General Conference with the theme, The
Role of Prosecutors in Combating Trafficking in the Region.

He stressed that while Asean’s judicial system must be allowed to
operate independently, it is vital that the government remained in
control of crime-related policies by properly preparing prosecutors.

“For example, if a case is going to result in charges, then
who is going to press those charges? The prosecutor is an accuser [in
that case], but what if he represents the state and he or she must
charge [the government]?” Hun Sen asked the audience.

“[What if] a case is in the lower courts and the judge acquits the
accused of charges or is too lenient with his sentencing and the
prosecutor fails to file an appeal?

“We must ask if the state is still in control of its crime-related
policies at this stage. This system is currently under reform for
[Cambodian] courts,” Hun Sen said.

Out of 1,000 cases, Hun Sen said about 999 would see prosecutors
issue arrest warrants so that police can enforce the law. The rare
exception, the prime minister said, was for simple crimes when police
don’t necessarily need a warrant before an arrest is made.

Lawyer Ly Chantola told The Post on Wednesday that legislative,
executive and judicial powers are kept separate so that they can operate
independently without government pressure.

But some countries, he said, allowed the executive branch to manage
prosecutors through various justice ministries, as is the case in France
and Cambodia.

Neither Ministry of Justice spokespersons Chin Malin and Kim Santepheap could be reached for comment.