H.E. Chin Malin, Secretary of State and Spokesperson of the Ministry of Justice, has expressed his dismay of the recent report of World Justice Project which ranks Cambodia 138 out of 139 countries on rule of law performance during COVID-19 crisis.

“It is irrational and inconsistent with the actual situation as well as the international context. Even some countries that used to criticise Cambodia for the enforcement of legal measures in this COVID-19 situation, they themselves have carried out all those legal measures and even stricter and more severe than Cambodia, such as the country’s lockdown, vaccination obligation, and so on,” the spokesperson told AKP this afternoon.

H.E. Chin Malin continued that the survey was presumed to have received information or data only from one side, possibly from civil society organisations or groups with political tendencies against Cambodia, leading to an incorrect assessment.

“Even the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights has access to information and data on law enforcement from dissident civil society groups which are different from official data released by the Royal Government,” he said. “This also leads to bias in the issuance of reports and evaluations.”

The spokesperson also raised questions about the research method and basis of the evaluation of the World Justice Project, which is to him very strange because the score of the rule of law of Cambodia falls below some communist countries, military-led countries, war-torn countries, etc. “This assessment is not in line with the current situation that we all see today,” he stressed.

H.E. Chin Malin also rejected the exaggeration that those who do not obey the law or COVID-19 preventive measures could carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, which is completely inaccurate. “The sentence of up to 20 years is only for those who are known to be positive for COVID-19 and intentionally transmit it to others, which is equivalent to a felony. Apart from it, there are penalties such as fines, education, advice to stay at home for a period of time, and so on, he explained.

For the report that up to 700 persons have been arrested, H.E. Chin Malin underlined that it is a misleading report as in fact, only around 100 have been arrested and about 30 of them have been detained, and the rest on bail. In most cases, they have been fined, educated, and allowed to return home.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press

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