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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rogue courts flout law

Rogue courts flout law

TWO provincial courts are flouting the strictures of the Justice Ministry, according

to human rights groups.

The provincial court in Kandal is reportedly delaying all politically sensitive cases

until after elections, and an illegal court has reportedly opened in Pailin without

Phnom Penh's approval.

Kandal First Deputy Governor Kun Kim instructed the court not to hear or resolve

any cases filed by people "protesting against the government or complaints against

the government" until after the election, according to a confidential human

rights report seen by the Post.

Court officials said Kim gave them the new instructions during a Jan 3 meeting in

which he added four CPP-friendly members to the three already on the court, according

to the report which was released on the condition that its authors not be named.

Undersecretary of State for Justice Li Vouch Leang strongly denied that a provincial

official could give such an order.

"No, no, there is no one who can do that," she said. "If the Minister

[of Justice] knew about that, he would be angry and opposed to such illegal activity."

According to the report, Kandal court staff were also reportedly asked to implement

a "one plus one plan", wherein each of them is supposed to spread the word

about the CPP and its strategies.

During the meeting, Kim also reportedly expressed certainty about the CPP's pending

electoral victory, adding that he would be named "third King", after Hun

Sen, following the elections.

"The kingship need not be limited to the members of the Royal family,"

he reportedly said.

Kun Kim was in Vietnam at Post press time and could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, in Pailin, a court has opened its doors without the consent of the Justice

Ministry or the Supreme Council of Magistracy.

Recent visitors to Pailin report seeing the court building open for business.

"They are just playing at being a court," said a human rights worker. "There

are no lawyers, no one can speak."

Vouch Leang confirmed she had heard of the court's existence, but said its operation

was illegal.

"I heard that kind of news also," she said.

"But if someone creates a court, they have to have a court official from the

Supreme Council of Magistracy do it. This is following the law."

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