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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ley murder added to complaint filed at ICC

Mourners surround a car carrying the body of Kem Ley during his funeral in July.
Mourners surround a car carrying the body of Kem Ley during his funeral in July. Heng Chivoan

Ley murder added to complaint filed at ICC

Richard Rogers, the British lawyer who has filed a complaint asking the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Cambodia’s “ruling elite”, said he will request that the court expand the case to include the July murder of prominent political analyst Kem Ley.

“We won’t make accusations against anyone in particular, but it fits into the category of a politically motivated murder, so it’s relevant to the ICC case,” Rogers said, adding he hopes to file a new brief in October.

The complaint, which was filed in 2014, requests that the ICC investigate the assassinations of dissidents and systematic land grabbing by the country’s ruling elite. It’s unclear when the court will decide on whether to add the case to its preliminary examination list, the important first step that launches an ICC investigation.

Nevertheless, Rogers said he has received unofficial notice from the court that a decision could be made by year’s end.

But international criminal law expert William Schabas said it could be difficult for the case to make the list. “If the prosecutor thinks the case is serious enough then it can make the list,” explained Schabas.

“But it’s a big job to sort the serious from the less serious, and even when you get to the more serious, you have gang wars and people getting killed and sometimes those cases don’t make the cut.”

Government spokesman Phay Siphan, meanwhile, said officials were not paying close attention to the case. “I don’t think they can blame the government for this murder.”

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