A Tumpoun ethnic villager has received a summons to appear before the Ratanakkiri Provincial Court tomorrow over allegedly grabbing land from a local rubber plantation firm in Bakeo district.
The Khov Kimleng company sued six ethnic villagers over 100 hectares in Keh Chung commune’s Pa’ro village in 2007.
On November 2, a subpoena was issued by the court for 58-year-old Kvas Chheuy, one of the six. The other villagers involved in the case are Kvas Tiv, Klas Tien, Kvas Soy, Kvas Noeun and Romcham Neth.
Chhay Thy, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, which has provided the six with defence counsel, said a few of those villagers have already been summonsed.
“It is an old land dispute. The villagers are living in the land of their ancestors, but the company accused them of grabbing the land,” he said.
According to Thy, the land was sold in secret to the company by other villagers, causing the dispute. What’s more, he continued, the land is without title, meaning it should not be up to the courts to resolve this matter.
Mam Vanda, the provincial deputy prosecutor who released the warrant, declined to comment yesterday, saying he did not remember the case.
However, Keh Chung commune chief Rochamm Lai said he was aware of the dispute. “Some villagers sold, and some did not sell the land, so the problem happened,” he said.