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Land clarification

The Editor,

This is to clarify two statements attributed me that regrettably were misquoted in

your article "Land ownership 'a real mess'; courts backed up," in Vol.5,

No. 12 of June 14-27, 1996.

Initially, the article omits an end-quotation mark in the middle of the second paragraph,

making it appear that I stated that "prisoners languish in prison" awaiting

trial while the courts' time is taken up handling property disputes. I would simply

clarify that I stated only that the courts must spend a significant amount of time

on these cases. Although this may generally affect the courts' ability to bring crimincal

cases to trial more quickly, the statement that "prisoners languish" while

the court deals with property disputes did not come from me and is entirely editorial

commentary by the reporter.

Most importantly, I was quoted as saying that in certain provincial towns, "[we

are] aware of powerful people snatching land and paying the courts off for favorable

decisions concerning land title." My statement, in fact, was only that I was

aware of "allegations" that such activities were taking place. I did not

assert that I or my colleagues were aware that any such incidents had occurred in

actuality. Regrettably, my statement was published without this important qualification.
- Joshua Sondheimer, Legal Advisor, Cambodian Court Training Project.

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