Rule of Law Index 2012: Cambodia ranked low

By: Southeast Asia Globe - Posted on: December 3, 2012 | Business

Cambodia scores low on government accountability and regulatory enforcement

Cambodia scored well below the average in 2012 when it came to rule of law according to an annual survey of 97 countries conducted by Washington-based World Justice Project.

The Kingdom’s lowest score was 94th out of 97 in the category of regulatory enforcement and was placed 90th in its effectiveness to limit government power, according to the Rule of Law Index 2012, released in November. Cambodia’s highest score saw the low-income country come 54th in the realm of order and security.

WJP’s third annual quantitative assessment provides a country-by-country comparison of nine fundamental areas of the rule of governance and paints a detailed picture of the extent to which countries adhere to the rule of law in practice.

“Cambodia is ranked lower than most other countries in the region on all dimensions,” said the report, compiled from interviews from 97,000 members of the public and more than 2,500 experts in 97 countries.

Of the 15 countries ranked in the region, Cambodia took bottom place in half of the index factors – including civil justice and criminal justice – and was ranked within the bottom three in the remaining indicators – including fundamental rights.

“[Cambodia’s] overall legal and institutional environment remains quite weak, which is highlighted by the low scores in key areas, including effective limits on government powers; regulatory enforcement; access to civil justice; and absence of corruption Property rights are very weak, and police abuses remain a significant problem,” the report said. “On the other hand, Cambodia has lower crime rates than most countries in the low income group.”

“The WJP’s Rule of Law Index is not designed to shame or blame, but to provide useful reference points for countries in the same regions, with comparable legal cultures and similar income levels,” said William H. Neukom, the founder of the World Justice Project.