Phnom Penh: The UN special envoy on human
rights in Cambodia has said that the country's judiciary is
facing tremendous challenges.
"The judiciary in Cambodia is facing tremendous
challenges in delivering justice for the people of the
country, especially the poor and marginalized," Professor
Surya Subedi, the UN special rapporteur said on Thursday.
While considering the overall state of the judicial
system in Cambodia, he raised specific concerns relating to
the judiciary's role in protecting freedom of expression and
in cases involving land-related rights.
"I am troubled by the impact of land disputes, land
concessions and resettlements on the lives of ordinary people,
both in rural and urban areas, miscarriages of justice and the
narrowing of political space for critical debate in society
due to the disproportionate use of defamation, disinformation
and incitement lawsuits against journalists, human rights
activists and political opponents," he said in a statement.
He called on the government "to introduce appropriate
measures to enhance the independence and capacity of the
judiciary to enable it to function as an institution capable
of providing justice to all in Cambodia."
"If you are poor, weak and dispossessed of your land, you
seem to have limited chance to obtain redress either through
existing administrative land management systems, or through
the courts," he said.
Subedi did, however, welcome the adoption of a series of
new laws in recent years, including a new penal code, an
anti-corruption law and a criminal procedure code that are
designed to strengthen the system of justice.
First Published: Saturday, June 19, 2010, 15:31