Friday, June 13, 2014

Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister explains the Cambodia’s law making process to western diplomats

PHNOM PENH, June 11, 2014 – His Excellency Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Sok An, Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers, explained to western diplomats a great deal about the law making process of Cambodia. H.E. Dr. Sok An also updated the diplomats about the civil reparation program of the Extraordinary Chamber in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC).

Speaking in a meeting on Wednesday to a group of diplomats led by EU Ambassador to Cambodia, H.E. Jean-Francois Cautain, H.E. Dr. Sok An said that normally the law making process goes through a number of phases including the technical and legal aspects.

The meeting was also attended by German Ambassador H.E Joachim Baron Von Marschall, Swedish Ambassador Her Excellency Anna Maj Hultgard and Charge d’Affaires of the embassies of France and UK respectively.

H.E. Dr. Sok An further explained that the draft law has to be first consulted by technical groups of the two organs, Council of Jurists and Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC), under the Office of the Council of Ministers and followed by the inter-ministerial meeting chaired by the Secretary-General of the Royal Government and the concerned Secretary of State in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers.

The third phase is the review by H.E. Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Sok An himself before the draft law is to be submitted to the government’s full cabinet meeting chaired by Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, for final review and approval.

The Deputy Prime Minister also updated the foreign diplomats about a new concept by Samdech Prime Minister that from now on, each minister has the power to draft laws from the beginning till the final draft to be submitted to the full cabinet meeting.

The Royal Government has transferred the Council for legal and judicial reform and Council of administrative reform to the ministry of justice and ministry of public functions, respectively.

H.E. Dr. Sok An responded to the issues raised by the diplomats that the draft law on Association and NGOs is still being examined by the ministry of Interior. The draft law on Cybercrime is now being handled by the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, while the Ministry of labor and vocational training is handling the draft law on trade union.

Swedish Ambassador Her Excellency Anna Maj Hultgard said she is grateful to the explanations by H.E. Dr. Sok An about the current status of the draft law on Cybercrime.

H.E. Deputy Prime Minister, however, said that “Cambodia has been a safe haven place for NGOs and Cambodia is now also the safe haven place for new social media,” in the sense that the opposition and the government’s critics have been posting false information and misleading comments on their Facebook walls.

“They are posting information full of manipulation and lies”, said the Deputy Prime Minister in the meeting.

They are manipulating the factual situation on the ground and keep lying to the public for their own political interests. The government, however, has shown “its soft position and is very open”, said the Deputy Prime Minister.

The ECCC is due to deliver verdict, reparation program

An estimated 3 million Cambodians died under the Khmer Rouge regime due to forced labour, starvation, medical neglect and execution committed by the Khmer Rouge between 17 April 1975 and 6 January 1979.

The ECCC is currently trying two aging former Khmer Rouge’s leaders namely, former head of state Khieu Samphan, 82, and chief ideologue and chairman of parliament Nuon Chea, 87, for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and other offences.

Former Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary died in March last year during the trial.

The Court is due to deliver the verdict on August 7, 2014 for Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan.

“This is the most important day of the Khmer Rouge trials given the two suspects are the most senior surviving leaders of Democratic Kampuchea (Khmer Rouge),” said H.E. Dr. Sok An.

The foreign diplomats are invited by the ECCC to witness the court’s announcement of the written judgment.

His Excellency Dr. Sok An, in response, said that the ECCC is also committed to its collective and moral reparations which are classified into categories including: remembrance and memorialization, rehabilitation, documentation, education, and psychological and mental health support.

In response to the issue concerning the civil party, His Excellency Dr. Sok An said that ECCC is the only international criminal jurisdiction that allows civil party, which represents the victims of the Khmer Rouge, to fully participate in the process of proceedings and hearing.

The ECCC also looks into the non-judicial measures (NJM) which includes the peace learning center in Takeo province, Memorial at Tuol Sleng Museum, Gender-based violence project as well as the ECCC’ legal documentation center and victim foundation.

The court’s reparation program has caught great attention from the German Ambassador H.E Joachim Baron Von Marschall whose country in particular went through the holocaust of the World War II.

H.E. Dr. Sok An however said that, “we see the EU as one of the most important partners of Cambodia.”

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