Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Fair Sochua ruling doubted

Fair Sochua ruling doubted

Fair Sochua ruling doubted

Ahead of today's ruling on Prime Minister Hun Sen's defamation suit against opposition lawmaker Mu Sochua, a prominent rights groups said it was doubtful Phnom Penh Municipal Court could pass fair judgement on a case that legal observers say has come to define government interference in the judiciary.

In a statement Monday, the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission said that due to the current state of the courts, a verdict in favour of Hun Sen was largely a foregone conclusion.

"Executive control of the court is an established fact, and it is known that the court lacks independence," the group said.

It added that "almost all prosecutors and judges" were affiliated with the ruling Cambodian People's Party, saying that any verdict against Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Mu Sochua would "not carry any authority" in a proper court of law.

Mu Sochua told the Post that she saw her case as a test for the independence of Cambodia's court system.

"Tomorrow, the court has an opportunity to show its independence. If the court decides against me, the court is not independent," she said Monday.

The SRP and Human Rights Party say that they have prepared a joint statement but will wait for today's verdict before criticising the courts.

"We will issue a joint statement, [but] its contents will be different depending on the verdict," HRP spokesman Yem Ponharith said.

But Prime Minister Hun Sen's lawyer Ky Tech, who is prosecuting the case, said that if the SRP and Mu Sochua complain about a guilty verdict, they are themselves preventing the court from being independent.

"Normally, everyone says the court is not independent when he loses a case," he said. "But if he wins, he says the court is independent."

Hun Sen sued Mu Sochua for defamation after she filed her own defamation suit against him, claiming he insulted her during a speech in Kampot province in early April.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all