A lawyer for Tumpuon ethnic villagers in Ratanakkiri province’s Bakeo district yesterday requested that the provincial court summon a former district governor who allegedly signed a letter authorising one village to sell about 100 hectares of another village’s land to a private company.
Long Lun, a lawyer provided by rights group Adhoc, said on the second day of a hearing into the land dispute that former district governor Khum Sakhorn had been aware of the sale of land belonging to Paor villagers in Keh Chung commune.
Paor villagers said in court on Tuesday that villagers from nearby Loe Horn village had forged documents to sell Paor land to private company Ly Sokim in 2007.
The company filed a complaint to the provincial court in June last year accusing Paor villagers of illegally clearing the land for cashew plantations.
“The Paor villagers’ land has been recognised by authorities and the Interior Ministry as the land of ethnic Tumpuon community [that] no one can sell,” said Ro Cham Phoen, a representative of the villagers.
Representatives from Ly Sokim could not be reached for comment.