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PM: Mediation before courts

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Prime Minister Hun Sen speaks at the Royal School of Administration on April 27. SPM

PM: Mediation before courts

Prime Minister Hun Sen has advised all officials to focus on resolving disputes outside the courts as a first option, especially land disputes, and to refrain from signing agreements related to forest land or other land without authorisation.

The premier was addressing an April 27 ceremony marking the closing and opening of the 2022-2023 training courses at the Royal School of Administration (RSA), held at Koh Pich Convention and Exhibition Centre in Phnom Penh.

“Let me instruct our officials to pay attention to resolving disputes outside the courts and to be more attentive to the problems that arise in their provinces. They have to try hard to solve conflicts that have arisen through means outside of the judiciary.

“We are not blaming the courts, but if we go to court immediately, there will never be an equal settlement. One party always wins, one party always loses. The winner always calls the court fair and the loser always calls the court unfair,” he said.

Therefore, he said the best choice is to resolve these issues outside the judiciary through mediation. To ensure this is accomplished, all officials must try to take the middle way with discernment and mediate between the parties to the conflict, especially matters relating to land issues.

Hun Sen also reminded all officials to be mindful about not signing any agreements involving forest and conservation land, which is generally under the administration of the Ministry of Environment and require broader consultations within the government before any decisions are made.

“Our officials must not be involved with signing away forest land. Please be careful about this issue. It is not a good thing,” he said.

Rights group ADHOC spokesman Soeng Sen Karuna supported the suggestion, but said that while he has observed that Kampot provincial governor Mao Thonin settle some disputes outside the courts between private individuals and between individuals and private companies, major cases involving the powerful are still going unsolved.

“With out-of-court settlements, if there is a fair solution it will be applauded by the people who are victims in various situations. I think that it is a better approach overall though because it can help reduce the backlog of court cases,” he said.

“If it is done in accordance with the procedural and technical solutions in order to seek justice for each party through effective mediation and out-of-court settlement, then all provincial officials and governors should take care to act on the remarks by the head of government,” he added.

Sen Karuna opined that there is a need for better implementation of the law in Cambodia, both inside and outside of the judiciary.

He noted that because no fewer than a hundred cases per day were brought to the courts, more need to be done to improve its shortcomings and the negative aspects which are often criticised by the people, who would then be able to trust the courts and praise their performance.


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