The Phnom Penh Municipal Court will continue hearings on Kem Sokha’s treason case this week after it was adjourned following a mass walkout by his defence team last week.
Chan Cheng, one of Sokha’s lawyers, told The Post on Monday that the case will continue as usual on Wednesday and Thursday, and Sokha would keep the same defence team.
On February 14, all four of Sokha’s lawyers left the courtroom after expressing frustration with trial chamber president Judge Koy Sao, who they said failed to allow them to respond to comments made by the prosecutors and the government’s defence team.
Judge Sao in return labelled the lawyers a “disrespectful defence team” and decided to adjourn the hearing for a week to allow Sokha to consider whether he wished to appoint new lawyers.
He also warned that the court would take legal action against Sokha’s lawyers if they failed to attend the court’s upcoming hearing according to schedule.
However, Cheng said that Sokha’s defence team will attend the trial this week.
The court has questioned Sokha for the past five weeks in relation to him becoming a parliamentarian in 1993, establishing the Cambodian Center for Human Rights in 2007 and the Human Rights Party in 2012.
In the fifth week, the court began questioning his involvement with Sam Rainsy in forming the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), since dissolved by the Supreme Court.
Prime Minister Hun on Monday reiterated that despite the European Commission withdrawing 20 per cent of the EU’s Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme, he would not exchange Cambodian sovereignty with any preferential treatment.
“We cannot let those who destroy the nation go free from consequences. Our legal process at the courts is continuing. You [the EC] apply your law and we apply ours. It can’t be mixed up. Today, I send a very clear message that Cambodia is not going to stop the trials of this treason case,” he said.
Hun Sen said he would not entertain the request for negotiations demanding that the prosecutor drop charges against Sokha.