Ministry refutes justice ranking

The Ministry of Justice on Wednesday refuted a World Justice Project (WJP) report which ranked Cambodia 127th out of 128 countries globally, in its rule of law performance, saying the report did not reflect realities in Cambodia.

The WJP on Wednesday released its “WJP Rule of Law Index 2020” annual report, claiming it is based on national surveys of more than 130,000 households, and 4,000 legal practitioners and experts globally.

Ministry of Justice secretary of state and spokesman Chin Malin told The Post on Wednesday that the report seems to have assessed Cambodia by linking its judicial system and law enforcement to politics.

He said the report is quite superficial and did not look into Cambodia’s legal aspects and context in depth.

“It not so strange that Cambodia is ranked so low. If the report bothered to look into the overall aspects [of the practice of law] and is based on technical aspects such as the practice of rights, the rule of law, and democracy, Cambodia’s ranking will not as bad as the WJP claims,” he said.

Malin said the situation in Cambodia is far better than that of some other countries with only one political party or controlled by military regimes, resulting in the people having no freedom or rights at all.

“The assessment is based on perception only. Cambodia enforces the law equally to politicians and human rights activists who violate it. The ranking does not reflect reality,” he stressed.

The WJP report claimed it measured the performance of the rule of law in 128 countries and jurisdictions in eight primary factors, including constraints on Government Powers, Absence of Corruption, Open Government, Fundamental Rights, Order and Security, Regulatory Enforcement, Civil Justice, and Criminal Justice.

It said: “Cambodia’s overall rule of law score increased by less than 1% in this year’s Index. At 127th place out of 128 countries and jurisdictions worldwide, Cambodia remained in the same position for global ranking.

“Cambodia’s score places it at 15 out of 15 countries in the East Asia and Pacific region and 30 out of 30 among lower middle income countries.

“Denmark, Norway, and Finland topped the WJP Rule of Law Index rankings in 2020. Venezuela, RB; Cambodia; and Democratic Republic of the Congo had the lowest overall rule of law scores – the same as in 2019,” WJP said.

The top performer in East Asia and the Pacific is New Zealand, ranking seventh out of 128 countries globally, followed by Australia and Singapore, said WJP.

The three countries which recorded the lowest scores in the region were the Philippines, Myanmar, and Cambodia.