Ex-CNRP officials file politics ban challenge

Security officials block off Wat Botum Park ahead of the Supreme Court hearing on the dissolution of the opposition.
Security officials block off Wat Botum Park ahead of the Supreme Court hearing on the dissolution of the opposition. Sahiba Chawdhary

Ex-CNRP officials file politics ban challenge

Senior members of the now-dissolved opposition CNRP have filed a complaint to the Supreme Court asking that it reopen last month’s dissolution case to allow them to submit evidence, even though there is no legal recourse for appeal of a decision by the highest court.

In a near-universally condemned decision, the court ruled on November 16 to dissolve the country’s main opposition, the Cambodia National Rescue Party, and to ban 118 of its officials from politics for five years. “We are not satisfied with the verdict of the Supreme Court and we are filing a complaint to demand the Supreme Court reopen the hearing,” reads the new request, signed by ex-Deputy President Pol Ham, chief whip Son Chhay and others.

The focus of the filing is on the decision to ban officials, which was made “without having summonsed them”.

Ministry of Justice spokesman Chhin Malin said yesterday he expects the complaint to be dismissed. “In this case, they are the victims but not because of the Supreme Court verdict, but because their party and leaders violated the law,” Malin said, calling the verdict “irrefutable”.

According to legal expert Sok Sam Oeun, there is no channel by which a Supreme Court verdict can be appealed.

Prince Sisowath Thomico, a CNRP member who also signed the complaint, said the ruling was politically motivated, and that the filing was “to show the Cambodian people and the international community that the ruling was unlawful”.

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