Political analyst Kim Sok’s lawyer has filed a request to call Prime Minister Hun Sen, the plaintiff in a pair of defamation cases against the analyst, which include felony charges of incitement.
Lawyer Choung Choungy filed the request on Sok’s urging to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday. “Please invite the plaintiff to confront the defendant,” the letter reads.
Hun Sen’s attorney, Ky Tech, yesterday said the decision to summons the plaintiff ultimately lay in the hands of the judge, but even a ruling in favour of the defendant would not lead to an appearance by the prime minister.
“If the judge thinks that this request is right and permits the confrontation, I will go [as his representative],” he said.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court spokesman Ly Sophana said the investigating judge would decide on the matter, without providing a timeframe.
Sok was arrested on February 17 on charges of incitement and public defamation, following a complaint by the prime minister, who is seeking more than half a million dollars in compensation.
Lawyer Sam Sokong, who had represented former opposition leader Sam Rainsy in the past, yesterday said “the accused clearly has the right to request the judge to summons anyone in court”. This request had to be approved, he added.
But lawyer Sok Sam Oeun disagreed, arguing that the right depended on the burden of proof. The accused, in principle, had the right to confront evidence presented against him, he said.
However, if the burden of proof lay with the accused – such as, Sam Oeun argued, in a defamation case – he did not have the right to confront the plaintiff if the plaintiff was also the victim. For example, if someone made a defamatory remark on Facebook, the accused did not have the right to confront the plaintiff, as the evidence was clear.
However, he acknowledged that the “law is not clear”.
The Appeal Court will hear Sok’s appeal against his detention at Prey Sar on Monday.