Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Lawyer wants ex-CNRP members at trial

Lawyer wants ex-CNRP members at trial

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Sam Sokong, the defence lawyer for former members and activists of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP). Heng Chivoan

Lawyer wants ex-CNRP members at trial

The defence lawyer for former members and activists of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on January 12 sent a letter to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court seeking intervention that would allow them to participate in trials scheduled for this month and March.

Sam Sokong said some of his clients are living abroad but willing to return for their trials.

“In the letter, I requested to have my clients present at the hearing because criminal procedure states that the right of the accused to be present for such hearings must be upheld. This allows them to hear the accusations against them in order to defend themselves.

“We submitted the request urging the court to intervene with the authorities through the enforcement of court summons or by any other means that would make it possible for my clients to be present at the hearing,” Sokong said.

Municipal court spokesman Y Rin confirmed that the court had received the letter but so far no decision has been made.

On January 14, the court will resume hearings for over 60 of the 139 CNRP members and activists on charges of treason, insurrection, and incitement.

The second group of remaining defendants will have a separate hearing scheduled for March 4.

Former CNRP vice-president Mu Sochua said she planned to return to the Kingdom on January 17 following her failed attempt to return on January 4. She claimed she was unable to get a visa from the Cambodian embassy in the US where she is living in exile.

Sochua could not be reached for comment on January 12, but in a recent tweet she said a trial could not be considered fair unless the defendants were allowed to attend.

“They won’t issue us visas to return to face the courts and they arrest our supporters prior to our return [because] they have no evidence of treason or of insurrection,” she wrote.

Ministry of Justice spokesman Chin Malin said the court was following the procedure as stated in the law, from the investigation on up through the trial.

He said the cases against some former CNRP members are currently at the trial stage and the court has issued summons and arrest warrants in order for the authorities to bring the accused to stand trial.

“All diplomats are obliged to enforce the court’s arrest warrants rather than issuing visas or validating passports [for fugitives]. Instead, they need to enforce the arrest warrants by all diplomatic means and existing legal mechanisms.

“But whether they are arrested or not, the court will go ahead with proceedings,” Malin said.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said the court can issue a summons letter but finding a way to enter the country is the responsibility of the individual.

He said the government will not intervene in this matter because by law, it is not possible to issue any legal travel documents to fugitive criminals.

MOST VIEWED

  • Companies listed on CSX receive 50% deduction on income tax

    Tax incentives are granted to companies that have listed their shares or issued debt securities on the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX), whether they are small to medium-sized enterprises or large companies. The nine stock listed companies on the CSX – with seven listed on the Main

  • Siem Reap drain canal now ‘mangrove’ promenade

    A more than half a kilometre long stretch of canal in Siem Reap has been covered and turned into a promenade to attract visitors, said Ly Rasmey, secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, on September 16. The new pedestrianised

  • Cambodia mourns over UK’s Queen Elizabeth II

    Cambodia has joined other nations around the world to mourn the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, with King Norodom Sihanomi, Prime Minister Hun Sen and National Assembly president Heng Samrin extending their condolences in separate letters. In his letter to the late Queen’s son –

  • Final verdicts for Khmer Rouge leaders ‘vital’ for next generation

    Nearly a decade after the commencement of Case 002/02 against Khieu Samphan back in 2014, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) is now set to deliver its final verdict for the former Khmer Rouge head of state. The Supreme Court Chamber of the ECCC,

  • Angkor wildlife, aquarium park still to open October

    The Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium complex about 30km southeast of Siem Reap town with initial total investment of more than $70 million is reportedly still on track for an end-October opening. The park is located on a 100ha plot along National Road 6 in Kbon village, Khchas

  • Railway project studies proceed

    The transport ministry is exploring options to expedite preliminary studies on key public railway infrastructure projects, especially the conversion of the Northern Railway Line that links to Thailand into high-speed rail. Railway freight and passenger transportation has been pinpointed as a major potential engine of