On June 14, members of the Lao National Assembly stood up, one after another, and recounted cases of bribery, embezzlement and corruption within the country’s courts and political system.
Members described how courts routinely reversed decisions, revisiting judgements after receiving letters in favour of the accused, even after the verdict has been decided. In other instances, the courts explicitly asked for bribes from the accused. If none were given, the cases were delayed.
The incident marked the most damning criticism from the Lao National Assembly in a series of complaints against endemic corruption in Laotian institutions. Will the moment mark a watershed for Thongloun Sisoulith’s government and ignite a push to eradicate corruption?