Cambodia's unruly rule of law

25th May 2016

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Before joining RegNet, Christoph Sperfeldt worked mainly in the fields of human rights and transitional justice, with a focus on Southeast Asia.

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When the World Justice Project published its rule of law index last year, Cambodia came in at 99 out of 102 countries surveyed, ahead of only Afghanistan, Venezuela and Zimbabwe. This ranks Cambodia lower than any of its ASEAN peers — even Myanmar achieved better scores.

In 2010, the UN Special Rapporteur on Cambodia carefully described the situation of Cambodia’s judiciary: ‘a combination of a lack of adequate resources, organisational and institutional shortcomings … has resulted in an institution that does not command the confidence of people from many walks of life’. Confidence is certainly low, with the judiciary being frequently perceived among Cambodians as the country’s most distrusted and corrupt institution, beating even the police force.

Recent developments have not improved the situation. In June 2014, three laws were passed after little consultation that strengthen the position of the Ministry of Justice vis-à-vis the judiciary. A UN Special Rapporteur expressed ‘deep concern’ over the reforms, which ‘could provide an excessive transfer of power from the judiciary to the executive’. A NGO Law, passed in July 2015, only added to these concerns.

Read the entire article on the East Asia Forum.

Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet