Siem Reap province
RESIDENTS of Anlong Samnor commune in Siem Reap province yesterday withdrew their civil complaint against eight villagers from neighbouring Chi Kraeng commune stemming from a long-running land dispute.
But the accused are still to be tried today on criminal charges.
“The defendants will not be responsible for civil compensation after the withdrawal of the complaint, but we will still consider the criminal charges,” Judge Chhay Kong said.
He said the charges – filed after a November 2008 altercation – included incitement, causing injury and destruction of private property. He said the court would hear the testimony of 10 more people today.
The row dates back to 1986, when one large village was divided equally between Chi Kraeng and Anlong Samnor communes, leaving an unspecified amount of farmland in dispute. Last year, the provincial court ruled that all of the disputed land belonged to Anlong Samnor, triggering conflicts between the two communes.
According to Monday’s agreement, which was endorsed by representatives from both communes and handed out at the court, the Chi Kraeng villagers will cease demanding rights and access to the disputed land in exchange for a promise from Anlong Samnor representatives to withdraw and cease all complaints.
Bun Tharith, Siem Reap deputy provincial governor, said officials had tentatively agreed on Monday to provide a social land concession to the Chi Kraeng villagers. However, he said he did not know where the concession would be located, or the amount of land each family would receive.
He said that authorities would need to collect data on the Chi Kraeng households before distributing land.