Inquiry Finds Irregularities In Municipal Court Cases

Irregularities have been found in the handling of some of the Municipal Court cases under scrutiny by a special investigation committee, the committee chief said Tuesday.

Suy Nou, Justice Ministry secretary of state, said the committee has found erroneous decisions were made in some of the cases. But he was unwilling to elaborate.

“Some improper cases have been found but I cannot say how many because the investigation is not yet finished,” Suy Nou said. He said the committee could finish its work by next week.

According to Suy Nou, legal experts inspected each of the roughly 50 cases that have been brought before them following Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara’s allegations of widespread bribe taking among members of the Municipal Court.

Meanwhile, Chea Sophara said the rearrests of suspects and criminals allegedly released early by the courts for cash has stalled at 50. More than 140 additional suspects or criminals slated for rearrest have so far evaded capture by authorities, he said.

“It is difficult to find them. Maybe they have moved to the provinces. But we are still seeking and looking,” Chea Sophara said, adding that provincial auth­orities have power to arrest the suspects and criminals.

A human rights worker monitoring the situation said Tuesday that although the situation is still unclear, some low-level police officers say they have ceased making the arrests. One officer said also that no more arrests will be made until valid arrest warrants are issued, the rights worker said.

The rearrests have been criticized by rights workers as being unconstitutional. Legal experts also have criticized Justice Minister Uk Vithun’s decision to suspend two top court officials, saying the matter should be decided by the Supreme Council of Magistracy.

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