The Ministry of Justice is set to sign MoUs with Oxfam Cambodia and Women Peace Makers on projects that would strengthen its mechanisms and implement sub-national mediation to reduce the backlog of court cases and improve the access to legal services.
In a March 4 press release, the ministry said signing the MoU with Oxfam Cambodia on March 7 would secure financial assistance for three projects.
The first project is to prepare and develop legal documents that will define the minimum standards for mediators as subnational civil servants and their code of ethics. Operational manuals for legislative offices and local dispute mediation would also be developed.
The second focuses on teaching legal standards and administrative practices for the capital and target provinces in the 10 former judicial service centers – Phnom Penh, Kampong Speu, Kampong Chhnang, Kampot, Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Prey Veng, Siem Reap, Mondulkiri and Ratanakkiri.
The third will provide mediation training to officials from the Kampong Thom Provincial Legislation Office.
The Women Peacebuilders Memorandum of Understanding will provide general advisory assistance and technical support to projects that will improve the implementation of mediation at national and sub-national levels.
He said the plans include establishing professional recognition standards for mediators; development of a national mediation policy; the training of trainers in mediation and any other tasks likely to strengthen the mediation mechanisms and the skills of the mediators.
Ministry spokesman Chin Malin told the Post on March 6 that signing the memorandums of understanding would help establish out-of-court dispute resolution mechanisms at the local level. Judicial reform by expanding services and improving ease of access to the public was a priority objective for the ministry.
“Secondly, out-of-court mediation will create harmony and help the progress of village-commune policy safely. If people have a dispute, they can resolve it peacefully and find mutual understanding. They will live in harmony at the local level,” he said.
He added that the project also aims to address a backlog of court cases – as many of the disputes were minor civil disputes that could be resolved at the local level. There was no need for them to go to court because their resources were already exhausted.
“This will increase the efficiency of processing court cases and reduce backlogs,” he said.