While Cambodia has made progress in reforming its legal system, the country still lacks an independent and professionally run judiciary. The current system has problems with corruption, the competence levels of its personnel remain low, and legal institutions lack capacity and sufficient financial resources. Public calls for reform are often unfocused and weak, and the country’s political system tends to stifle attempts at change.
USAID provides technical assistance to the Cambodian government in its efforts to reform the justice system. USAID aims to bolster the transparency and efficiency of the courts by improving the skills of the country’s judicial and legal professionals, who must interpret a wide range of new and complex legislation while taking on the challenge of institutional corruption. To develop consensus for reform, USAID is supporting legal aid providers and key human rights groups.
• Provided nearly $14 million in sub-grants to local NGOs to support promotion and protection of key political rights and civil liberties through various monitoring, advocacy and legal-aid activities. USAID has also provided legal assistance to over 91,000 people.
• Helped groom the next generation of judges and lawyers through the Client Counseling Competition and Mock Trial Competition, which are contests that nurture the skills and talents of law students.
• Installed public information signboards in 21 courts throughout the country. These signboards are the first of their kind in Cambodia and offer essential legal and procedural information to the public.
• Helped modernize and improve the justice information system within the Ministry of Justice.
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