A Phnom Penh Municipal Court official has confirmed that a case involving League for Democracy Party President Khem Veansa accusing him of “public insult” for his comments critical of Khmer people will go forward.
Soch Soeung, a former newspaper publisher, filed the complaint earlier this month after Veasna, who is himself Khmer, posted a Facebook video in which he called Khmer people “dogs” and pledged to form a new society.
Soeung confirmed yesterday that he gave his statement in court on Friday, and suggested that Veasna should be forced to publicly apologise for his comments.
“After listening to the plaintiff, the prosecutor has decided to continue the proceedings,” court spokesman Ly Sophanna said on Friday. He added that a date has not been set for Veasna’s summons.
Article 309 of the Criminal Code does allow for charges of public insult for offending a race or ethnicity, carrying a fine of between 100,000 and 10 million riel (about $25 to $2,500).
Veasna is currently abroad in South Korea, but LDP Secretary-General Chen Thun said the party isn’t concerned about the lawsuit.
“We have nothing to worry about because the plaintiff has no clear evidence, and we are only focused on strengthening our party. We haven’t prepared anything, we just let them go first and we will respond,” Thun said yesterday, adding that Veasna has not been issued an official summons.