THE Appeal Court yesterday postponed a hearing in the case of nine villagers from Siem Reap province’s Chi Kraeng commune who stood trial last year on charges of robbery and causing injury.
Judge Seng Sivutha said two new judges would need to be replaced before the case could be heard because they had participated in investigations at earlier stages. “We could not hear this case again because two of our three judges used to investigate this case, and according to the law we are not allowed to do that,” he said.
The case stems from a March 18, 2009, altercation related to an ongoing land dispute between residents of Chi Kraeng and Anlong Samnor communes. Last October, Siem Reap provincial court acquitted seven of the nine accused, while finding two guilty of causing injury and sentencing them to one year in prison. All nine have remained behind bars in Siem Reap awaiting the appeal hearing.
They are set to stand trial at Siem Reap provincial court today on charges of committing robbery during an altercation that took place on March 22, 2009.
Am Sam Ath, technical supervisor for the rights group Licadho, said yesterday that the accused were “disappointed” that the proceedings had been delayed.