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Case review, death threats

MINISTER of Justice Ang Vong Vathana has requested the Supreme Court to review its ruling in a land dispute involving the widow of deceased Funcinpec secretary of state Ho Sok and a number of government officials.

In an April decision, the Supreme Court awarded 13 hectares of land to former Kandal deputy governor Prak Savuth, reversing a 2007 provincial court decision in favour of Chea Kim, the widow of Ho Sok.
Ho Sok was an official at the Ministry of Interior who was killed during the 1997 Funcinpec-CPP factional fighting.

Chea Kim and Ho Sok’s parents, Sub Ho and Chheang Iv Heang, have alleged that the Supreme Court’s decision was based on documents falsified by Ros Roeun, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth.

Ang Vong Vathana signed a letter, dated Friday, to Supreme Court President Dith Munty requesting that he review the allegations. The letter states that, according to the complaint filed by Sub Ho and Chheang Iv Heang, Ros Roeun filed false documents to the court, leading to “confusion” in recognising the rights of 33 people to the land, located in Svay Ralum commune of Kandal province’s Sa’ang district.

“Based on this fact, the Ministry would like to send the letter of Sub Ho and Chheang Iv Heang and the whole case to His Excellency [Dith Munty] for effective resolution according to law and procedure,” the letter states.

Judge Yos Sokhoeun, a Supreme Court judge who attended the hearing of this case, said yesterday that while a decision to reopen the case would depend on Dith Munty, the court would follow the request of the ministry. “If there is enough evidence, they will do it, if there is not, it is no,” Yos Sokhoeun said.

Dith Munty could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Ros Roeun appeared at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court last month for questioning related to the allegations brought by Chea Kim. Khoeung Nath, a representative for Chea Kim, said yesterday that he received death threats after Ros Roeun appeared in court.

“I received a death threat by phone, telling me to withdraw myself from this case,” Khoeung Nath said. “They threatened me after Ros Roeun appeared in court.”

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