Today we could say with pride that the close cooperation between Cambodia and Japan, and the new topic of the Japanese assistance has been bringing the legal reform in Cambodia to fruition. Though the two codes have yet to be completed, the civil code and the civil procedure code have in fact taken a real shape.
This latest outcome has firmly changed the political program of the Royal Government on its strategies of legal and court reform and has ushered into a new stage the construction of the Cambodian society with justice, equality and peace. The Royal Government’s commitment to carry out reform on ground of clarity of the constitution and the Cambodian social condition of liberal democratic and pluralistic reality in real action has been a fulfillment of its promise. Efforts made to strengthen the state and private institutions through the creation of laws, principles and regulations, and to build Cambodia into rule of law, democracy and respect of human rights have enjoyed new energy while the civil code and the civil procedure code are in place.
It is in this regard that on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and in my own behalf, I would like to offer congratulation to the national seminar today. I have confidence that the whole seminar will be reflecting the true Cambodian society through the civil code.
The civil code is key legal principle. The civil code plays a role in settling relationship on useable property in relation to a physical or legal person, on relationship between citizen and citizen or between physical and legal person, or between legal persons. This may include relationship in terms of property rights, change of ownership, compensation, and on family affairs and issue of inheritance.
Based on the above characteristics, the civil code is a part of the state policy in providing protection of an overall unity in the relationship of rights and interest protection for people and society aimed at making a social progress.
The significant roles of the civil code and civil procedure code set a record in the legal history of Cambodia of the invaluable assistance given by the Government and people of Japan, their Embassy and JICA – Cambodia, together with the Japanese law experts in developing the two codes. The legal history of Cambodia would also record with great respect the efforts made by the Cambodia’s Ministry of Justice as well as various other lawyers, including here the late Excellency Chem Snguon, former Minister of Justice. Excellency, ladies and gentlemen are all activists in making the reform policy of the Royal Government a reality with responsibility and efficiency.
I believe that the draft of the civil code and the civil procedure code would certainly become laws and take root in the Cambodian society. Therefore I request that the Ministry of Justice continue to raise high the spirit of cooperation with Japan aimed at speeding up the completion of the two codes that are of great interest to our society. Along with this, the Ministry of Justice should organize a working group by disciplines of each code so that they become appropriate advisors, who would then be helpful in facilitating the discussion to pass the codes at the Council of Ministers and the National Assembly. While making the two codes firmly taking root in our society, the Ministry of Justice should continue to cooperate with the Japanese side in drafting additional and necessary laws on notary, bailiff, storing and registration systems, etc. The Ministry of Justice has to take this opportunity to seek cooperation with Japan to train Cambodian human resources in the field of laws as well as in our reform efforts.
I am confident that Japan would not hesitate to further assist Cambodia especially in this new topic and I believe that this new trial in the history of assistance for development of the Government of Japan would yield a great success on the marvelous land of Angkor.
The preparation of the codes is not only the principle for further strengthening the rule of law but is a foundation of social and national development in the future. From the start to the present, it has taken us three-and-a-half years to get the work done but the position and principle of the Japanese professors in offering direct assistance to the drafting of the two codes remains firm. The Cambodia’s Ministry of Justice and its experts as well as other Cambodian lawyers who have taken part in the work process has also shown their persistent efforts in putting important legal principles together. I have strong belief that the draft of the two codes will attract plenty of constructive ideas. It has proven that the Cambodian society is in cooperation for the improvement of its justice. Justice is an important part that helps strengthen peace that we have gained completely at the end of 1998.
For peace that needs a share of justice, please allow me to wish first of all the Japanese lawyers good health, wisdom and successes in the international mission of Japan in providing a new type of development assistance.
I wish the seminar energy and wisdom and hope that it will collaborate further with the Royal Government for the sake of peace, democracy and respect of human rights. We could not get things done out of the blue. So we have to build Cambodian society through this process with faith, patriotism, love for people, patience by our own hands and those of our beloved friends. Thank You.