In addition to the prepared text in Khmer, Samdech Hun Sen made the following comments on issue of suspension from duties of judges and prosecutors in relation of incidences of failure to prosecute and/or to give underrated sentencing of prison term of arrested thieves/robbers and/or convicted.
… I have in the past few days launched a campaign in relation to the quelling of robbers and thieves together with rogue legal officials. I am sure our people — inside and outside the country — are waiting for the progress of what I have promised to do. First of all I am grateful to those who have sent me letters of support, the Institute of Technology and Management also included, which illustrate positive concern on the matters. Supports sounded out by people at large, government employees, students, monks, have been a great encouragement not only for the Royal Government but also a source of inspiration for well-discipline officials in the court institutions who would not want themselves meddled with the shameful act by some rogue officials.
… Before I talk more about the issue, maybe some of you notice that I have not accepted the offer of flowers, which I am sure I might have astonished some of our people. Let me explain this matter. I recalled what I said on December 28, 2004 that I would not accept the flowers anymore when I arrive at a ceremonial site. It is indeed easy to place a flower wrath around my neck but in order to have that happened it was not an easy procedure at all. The price for the flower is not expensive, but we have to have my bodyguard unit to send in expert to inspect and check for poisonous element, etc. The offering of flowers in our tradition must have a few young women in traditional costumes which take quite an amount of time for having them on. So I think we should leave this part and proceed directly to the schedule, which I am sure will ease the work of MC. This is what I am recommending the protocol officials to consider applying for me personally and not for everyone.
… With the efforts made by the legal and judicial reform council, the Supreme Council of Magistracy, especially its Discipline Council [ក្រុមប្រឹក្សាវិន័យ] of the Council of Magistracy, the Supreme Court has come up with a report which has at this moment been sent to me. As of March 07, 71 cases have been reviewed. The written report of the Discipline Council went clearly that among the 71 cases of releases, only five accused have been legally set free, while 66 others were released illegally. A judge, I do not have to mention his name here, released 14 accused without prosecutions in his capacity as both investigating judge and the trial judge/court. I am sure this is an unacceptable standard.
… When someone is killed by a thief or robber, it is indeed a suffering but it is a greater suffering when the robber, illegally released by the court, returned to the victim’s family with further threats. Some of the victims were motor taxi drivers and such crimes committed on them, who might have borrowed money from various sources for purchasing a motorcycle to operate as a motor taxi for their daily life support. When he got killed or maimed by crimes, who would work to pay debts, and feed their children, etc. This is a tragedy for our nation. Our people in the countryside who were robbed of their cows and other small properties, and yet they have to shut up when they see that the thieves are back.
… This is an issue that we have to fight back to give a rapid and positive response to our people. As support increases some people who demand reform of the legal and judicial system, have on the contrary blamed Hun Sen for embracing power in his own hands. Let me tell you that I have not taken any harsh measures like leaders in some countries whose legal and judicial system have not been called upon. All we do here is to re-arrest them for a proper trial. To measure this or that person is wrong or right, one could not just say it. One must apply the law.
… Before people in the city dare not travel to their birthplaces in the countryside because of the Khmer Rouge threats and impassable infrastructure, and as of now the two factors have been eventually removed in the most places. But robbery and theft have now replaced the two factors and I think with collaborative efforts we will be able to quell the problem and provide our people with both physical and spiritual comforts. We also have to take into consideration of the sacrifice of the armed forces, especially the police and military police in charge of public order and security.
… We have taken actions for some days now and we will not have an “about turn“ and I am glad to hear forthcoming measures to be taken further as proclaimed by the Supreme Council of Magistracy. We will punish those committed mistakes without reservations and if the cases are serious we will bring them to court. I mean if the judges/prosecutors misbehaved in their capacity, aside from being penalized, they would be sent for the court’s decision on the seriousness of the crimes they have committed. I am not in the position to say now who they are, but since March 07, I have ordered for two things to be implemented immediately – first, find out the guilty persons and re-arrest them, and second, those judges and/or prosecutors to be penalized. According to the UNTAC (United Nations Transitional Authority) law in existence, those who collude will be charged equally as those who act.
… We will continue to march forward. The Royal Government has put out four pillars of reform as the backbone of its political platform – the fight against corruption, the reform of public administration, the legal and judicial reform, and the reform of the armed forces. The Royal Government could not take actions on some works if the Supreme Council of Magistracy (SCM) does not make a move, especially the discipline council because we are talking about penalizing rogue legal officials. Deciding on penalty is within the competent of the SCM and the General Prosecutor.
… The police commissar Heng Peo reported to me of a robbery of a gold shop. Thieves does not listen to the Prime Minister, they are enemies to the Royal Government, the people and the armed forces. But on the contrary, thieves and robbers may sometimes befriend human rights groups. What usually happens was that some human rights groups come in protection of the thieves/robbers. Now the water is clear and receding, while fishes are in sight and in catching range. If we find out that there has been a corrupted system which relates between judges, prosecutors, human rights and thieves/robbers, we will have to get all of them to justice.
… As in the case of establishing illegal armed forces in Cambodia, I warn they may not get away with this and now the case has been sent to the military court. From Koh Sotin district of Kompong Cham province, I instructed the Ministry of Interior to closely follow the matter and to take necessary measures to get the case done and sent to court. It is amazing to see that cases of some kinds have been left overdue without prosecutions, but cases of thieves have been processed in a remarkably rapid speed. Some people cited problems of lacking courtroom to proceed with those cases, and in the national conference on reforms I have suggested they hire a hotel or a part of a hotel and work it as a hearing court.
… I have talked about barristers and I do not mean to accuse anyone of them because they would bar any person who may seek barrier from them, no matter good or bad the person may be. Take for instance Ta Mok also has a defense lawyer/barrister, and so do Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea. Poor people do not have money to hire a barrister, and in many cases I have instructed payment to the barrister to perform their duty on their behalf. In relation the commemoration of the International Women’s Day I have instructed the Government and charitable fund to hire barristers to defend female defendants who do not have money to hire one on their own. I learned that some women never file complaints though they have been dishonored of any kind, for one reason because they do not have money. From now on female victims will have to be given barrier and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs will have to perform its duty as justice police./.