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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hope that trial will challenge 'culture of impunity'

Hope that trial will challenge 'culture of impunity'

Six months after a steel fragment pierced Jeun Sokha's heart, eight men will

stand trial September 25 at Phnom Penh Municipal Court in connection with her

killing.

Jeun Sokha's family is being represented by Ea Sopheap from

Legal Aid of Cambodia (LAC). LAC's legal consultant, George Cooper said the case

file received from the court indicated that the most serious charge of voluntary

manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years, appeared to be

against Hen Bo, a military policeman from Banteay Meanchey. Bo allegedly threw

the grenade that the family believes killed Sokha. A second grenade, which did

not explode but was allegedly thrown by him also, was found at the

scene.

Sokha ran the Peace Cafe, which has since relocated, with husband,

Briton David Finch. She was an innocent bystander to an argument at a

neighboring karaoke bar that resulted in at least one grenade being

thrown.

"Cambodians don't have much faith in their court system, because

they don't see it delivering justice," said Demelza Stubbins of Amnesty

International. Finch hopes that trying those accused of his wife's killing will

challenge the culture of violence and impunity within Cambodia and create a

legal precedent.

"I want a free and fair trial for all those involved and

sentences that match the gravity of any convictions. I want the judge to follow

the law," said Finch.

An official from the UN's Office of the High

Commissioner for Human Rights will observe the trial. The British Ambassador has

also indicated he will attend.

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