Today, I am very delighted to participate in the dissemination of the Criminal Procedure Code which reflects the commitment and the efforts of the Royal Government to reform and enhance legal framework that is the foundation for functioning and strengthening the rule of law aiming at promoting the respect for human rights and dignity. Indeed, the development of thisCriminal Procedure Code is the priority in the action programs for implementing the Legal and Judicial Reforms of the Royal Government of Cambodia adopted on the 29th of April 2005.
In this spirit, the development of the Criminal Procedure Code is the new and proud achievement of the Royal Government to modernize legal framework through developing other codes after the recent adoption of the Civil Procedure Code on 17th July.
Taking this opportunity and on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia, I would like to highly praise the Ministry of Justice for its cooperation with France to organize the dissemination of Civil Code Procedure conference which is an important legal foundation that provide the court and other related institutions with a clear and complete legal framework as the procedural process for resolving cases for the people with justice. Also, I would like to express my gratitude for the government and the people of France for making their most valuable contribution in the Foundation to support the “Rule of Law” for the Royal Academy of Judge Profession, especially, for helping Cambodia to develop criminal code and criminal code procedure.
I believe that the dissemination of this Criminal Code Procedure will achieve good results by contributing to the promotion of all sector reform processes for Cambodia to have a strong and sustainable foundation for the jump of the national economy and poverty alleviation as well as ensuring prosperity and progress for the country through our strong determination, vast experiences and lessons learnt from implementing important plans and strategies so far.
Moreover, the criminal case procedure in the present time is primarily based on some important laws including regulation on the judicial system, criminal law and criminal procedure for used in Cambodia during the time of conflict which was adopted by the high level of national council on the 10th of September 1992 (also known as UNTAC LAW) and law on criminal procedure adopted by the parliament of the State of Cambodia on the 28th January 1993 as well as some other important legal documents relating to this field when all of these laws and legal documents were still unorganized, flawed and incompatible with one another. Hence, the preparation of this code procedure is the necessary requirement for addressing these problems by making adjustment on the important points missing from the current law and creating a new mechanism which aims at improving the effectiveness of addressing the criminal cases.
The prolonged war and internal conflict that has occurred in Cambodia for more than three decades ago has resulted in a remarkably tense situation in the judicial and law system, especially, it made the implementation of the law difficult. Meanwhile, the complication of law and judicial system reform is also a result of the change in the Cambodia social environment, especially, the rapid growth of young population and fast changing society which resulted from the improvement in technology and regional and world integration which has partly caused the change in the value and social dignity.
Regardless, the Royal Government during the 3rd Legislative of the Assembly is no different from the Royal Government of the previous mandate in its strong efforts to push for Law and Judicial System Reform through establishing a good judicial and law reform strategy and implement important strategies and policy documents as laid out in the Governance Action Planby paying particular focus on achieving the policy of poverty alleviation. The Royal Government has also prepared judicial framework for enhancing the development of market economy and enhancing trade and investment promotion by focusing on the preparation of judicial framework on ownership, establishment of business identity, banking system, tax and accounting system, insurance, law on commercial enterprises, law on bankruptcy, contract law, trade funding law, Law on tradable instruments, currency clearing operation law, to ensure effective progress in the financial sector. Furthermore, in this framework, the RGC has set its vision on legal and judicial sectors by relying on fundamental concepts of the constitution which is related to these sectors.
This Criminal Code Procedure does not only ensure the complementarity and smoothness between all regulations relating to criminal procedures by combining these regulations into a code; but it also provides a comprehensive, clear, and easy way to understand and implement the Criminal Procedures smoothly and effectively. In accordance with the Cambodian legal custom and culture that originated from Romano-Germanic System (Civil Law System), this Criminal Code Procedure is based on the main principles of existing Criminal System Procedure to ensure the continuity of judicial and relevant institutions in dealing with the present criminal cases.
Clearly, according to this Criminal Code Procedure, the prosecuting body is still in charge of initiating formal accusations in criminal cases and the investigating judges remain in charge of investigating and collecting evidences before forwarding to trial judges who will try the defendant. Moreover, based on the fundamental concepts of Cambodian constitution and by considering some of the main international principles in this sector, this Criminal Code Procedure has been improved and filled the gap in the existing law such as strengthening the defendant’s right to defend themselves, enhancing victims’ right in criminal trials, giving judges more control over Judicial Police. In addition, the Criminal Code Procedure introduces new procedures in investigating processes of the Justice Police, the way prosecutors deal with criminal cases, legal procedures in interrogating and trying processes, and also the adoption of punishment record principals.
In this context, the approval of this Criminal Code Procedure will play an important role in strengthening the rule of law and democracy, defending human rights and dignity, especially in the modernization processes of legal frameworks, strengthening justice institutions, increasing the efficiency of delivering justice in criminal cases, and ensuring convenience in receiving information about law and the judiciary.
– Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!
As this Criminal Code Procedure is a new law for Cambodia in which many regulations and mechanisms have been changed and newly introduced, therefore the conference and training courses on Criminal Code Procedure are crucial to all participants in understanding the essence of this law in order to implement it smoothly, uniformly and effectively. I think, in order to increase the effectiveness of implementation, as well as enhance the rights to receive legal information and justice, the Ministry of Justice must publish numerous copies of this law and broadly disseminate and educate the information to relevant institutions, legal professionals, and the public after this law has been declared.
At the same time, after the introduction of this Criminal Procedure Code, in order to fulfill the commitment of the Royal Government of Cambodia in building and modernizing legal framework in conformity to the action programs for implementing the strategy on legal and judicial reform, the Ministry of Justice that is the implementation agency of the Royal Government in the field of judiciary must put more efforts on the following crucial tasks:
First, strengthen justice institutions by accelerating the adoption of fundamental laws such as Criminal Procedure, Law on Judge and Jury Statute, Law on the Organization of Court, Law on Statute of Court Clerk, Law on Statute of Notary, Law on Statute of Court Hall etc. as well as conducting regular monitoring on these works.
Second, strengthen justice institutions particularly improving the effectiveness of providing criminal justice to people.
Third, continue to train professional lawyers and judges in according with the evolving of Cambodian Laws and new technology.
Fourth, modernizing legal framework through preparing system of processing, automatic data entry and tele audio-visual system etc.
Fifth, Strengthen and expand the education on law broadly to law enforcement institutions and the public, especially, ensure the accessibility of legal and judicial information as well as legal safety for people.
Once again, on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and my self, I would like to thank the government and the people of France who greatly contributed to the preparation of Criminal Code and Criminal Code Procedure as well as to the organization of this Criminal Code Procedure Dissemination Conference. I would like to also thank the government and the people of Japan for helping to prepare Civil Code and Civil Code Procedure and offered training on civil procedure works to theRoyal Academy of Judge Profession.
I hope that today conference will show the participants with a clear understanding of the mechanism of code preparation in Cambodia, general concept and basic principles of Criminal Code Procedure and the 2-week Training Session that will begin tomorrow on implementing the procedure and key messages of the code to senior officials of court to obtain good result as expected.
Finally, I would like to wish all of you with Five Gems of Buddhist Blessing. I would like to launch the dissemination ofCriminal Code Procedure from now!