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Posted by: | Posted on: December 3, 2008

Stigma on Judicial Reform in Cambodia

I appreciate the appealing for thorough investigation of the UN representatives to the death of Heng Touch (PPP: UN representatives call for investigation into prison death). This case is considerably not the first one of impunity happened in Cambodia. The legal frailty has strongly rooted in Cambodia and it has gradually become the “culture of impunity”.

Since 1993, administrative and judicial reform is one of the priorities of the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) to achieve its “National Programme to Rehabilitate and Develop Cambodia”. After the UNTAC-sponsored election, the UNs and other international stakeholders have utilized both carrot and stick tactic to speed up the reforms in Cambodia. In one hand, they urged the RGC to accelerate reforms with soft and hard pressure, while in another hand they still keep providing funds to develop various projects run by the government. But we can see only the good writing law has become the result of their effort while the implementation and legal enforcement are still slack. Ronald Bruce in his article “The Political Economy of the Royal Government of Cambodia” emphasised that the political culture of Cambodia strongly embedded in the political leadership of “the familism, cupidity, narrow horizons and reluctance to absorb or tolerate opposing point of views”. With the administrative system of “the clans and clients”, Ronald articulated his example said that the architect of the nation’s economic reformist Sam Rainsy was once ousted from position because of his hard line resistance to this culture. Judicial reform, among other national reforms have frequently undercut by the continuity of malfeasance, corruption, and violence, Ronald observed.
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