The Supreme Court has summonsed jailed CNRP leader Kem Sokha to appear on November 16 for a hearing related to the potential dissolution of the main opposition party.
The Cambodia National Rescue Party is facing dissolution under recent controversial amendments to the Law on Political Parties, which gave the Supreme Court broad authority to disband a party for “affecting the security of the state”, among other vaguely defined prohibitions.
Sokha is himself awaiting trial on “treason” charges stemming from a 2013 video in which he described getting support in building his political platform from the United States.
“The presiding judge summons CNRP’s president…to participate in the trial on November 16, 2017 at 8am at the Supreme Court over the complaint to dissolve CNRP,” reads the summons, which is dated October 27.
In response, the CNRP issued a statement — which Sokha’s daughter and the party’s deputy public affairs director Kem Monovithya said was drafted in consultation with her father — reiterating the party’s innocence.
“CNRP would like to announce to the national and international public and competent authorities that the CNRP has not committed any illegal acts and the CNRP strongly opposes the attempt to dissolve the CNRP,” the party wrote. It goes on to call the trial “absolutely politically motivated”.
Sokha’s lawyers have previously stated that he will not submit any evidence to the court in the case, as he considers the trial a “political game”.
One of Sokha’s lawyers, Peng Heng, confirmed today the legal team had received the summons, but said he didn’t know if Sokha would stand by his previous decision not to submit evidence.