Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Court sets date for new hearing in Bandith case

Court sets date for new hearing in Bandith case

Court sets date for new hearing in Bandith case

The Appeal Court has set a hearing date in a case against former Bavet town Governor Chhouk Bandith, who stands accused of shooting three protesting garment workers last year.

In December, the Svay Rieng Provincial Court dropped charges against the official, only to see the case taken up by the Appeal Court prosecutor general, who called for a reinvestigation. The February 27 hearing will determine whether Bandith should, in fact, be charged for the February 2012 shooting.

“We will hold a public hearing so that all related parties can participate. None will miss it,” said Prosecutor General Ouk Savuth.

Three women were injured when a gunman opened fire during the protest of more than 6,000 workers employed at four factories at the Manhattan Special Economic Zone.

While eyewitnesses fingered Bandith, and he was implicated by none other than Minister of Interior Sar Kheng, it took two months before a widely derided
charge of causing unintentional injury was levied on him.

The case then languished for months, bouncing between the prosecutor and investigating judge, before charges were ultimately dropped. A second man, Bavet town police chief Sar Chanta, was named the sole suspect. In a rare move, higher court officials intervened just days later, appealing the dropped charge and insisting the case be transferred.  

Buot Chenda, 21, who was shot in the lung while calling for better working conditions, said yesterday she was relieved to hear a date had been set.

“I’m very happy that the Appeal Court will hear our case, because I have been waiting a long time,” she said. Chenda and two other plaintiffs are seeking $45,000 each for injuries sustained in the shooting.

Rights monitors, who have long criticised the court’s handling of the case, expressed tentative hope that the case at last appeared to be moving forward.

“I believe they will find justice for the victims if the court is independent,” said Moeun Tola, head of the labour program at the Community Legal Education Center.


To contact the reporter on this story: May Titthara at [email protected]


  • Serious flooding across country

    The Kampong Speu provincial Committee for Disaster Management on Wednesday issued an alert after non-stop heavy rain caused widespread flooding. In Koh Kong province, authorities are working with the disaster committee and the Cambodian Red Cross to assist those affected after more than 350 homes were

  • CNRP points to King in call for vote boycott

    Leaders of the former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) have taken a new tack in their call for a boycott of the national elections later this month. They are now claiming that the people should follow the King, who is expected to abide by tradition

  • Actress’s NGO takes heat for promoting the ruling party

    An actress’s NGO which participated in an election campaign event contrary to the Law on Association and Non-Governmental Organisations (Lango) has been slammed. Chorn Chanleakena, a celebrity and the president of the Association of Artists Volunteering to Help Society, allegedly led its members in

  • Troop moves ‘won’t worry people’

    Senior officials at the Ministry of Defence and National Police said on Tuesday that riot training provided to the country’s police forces were aimed at preventing unexpected demonstrations and strikes before and after the July 29 national elections. The troop mobilisation, they said, would not