Photo by: Heng Chivoan
A coconut vendor prepares for business in Phnom Penh's Group 78 neighbourhood.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court is expected to rule today on an injunction request filed by residents of Group 78 in response to a City Hall eviction order that gave residents until May 5 to vacate their strip of land along the Tonle Bassac river.
Yin Savath, one of three lawyers representing the community, said that approving the injunction would have little negative impact but could provide extra time to find a satisfactory solution to the dispute.
"I hope the court will decide to issue an order temporarily maintaining the area as it is," he said.
But Yin Savath added that if the court ruled against the community, lawyers would consider taking their appeal to a higher court.
"If the court rejects the people's complaint, we have the legal right to appeal because we have credible evidence."
Group 78 community representative Lim Sambo said he hoped the court would approve the residents' call for an injunction and halt work at the site.
"If the court is just and independent, it will issue its ruling to intervene and pause the activity," he said.
"But if the court is partial to the other party and rejects our complaint, we will appeal to the Supreme Court to take action and find a good resolution for us."
In an eviction letter dated April 20, Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema told residents they were living on land belonging to the state and to a local developer, giving them 15 days to accept a government compensation package and vacate their properties.