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Court summons sacked teachers for second time

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Rong Chhun walked out from Phnom Penh Municipal Court. Heng Chivoan

Court summons sacked teachers for second time

Former National Election Committee (NEC) member Rong Chhun and 10 other former teachers have been summoned for a second time by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to appear on Wednesday in their unfair dismissal case against the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport after their sacking last year.

According to a March 13 summons The Post received on Sunday, Judge Ros Piseth has ordered the 11 to appear in court at 9am. Chhun had just returned from a trip abroad which meant he missed the first hearing.

He said on Sunday that the former teachers would appear at the court as required to argue against the ministry’s decision and have their jobs reinstated.

He expressed hope that the court would rule in their favour and approve their request because they did not act as accused by the ministry. He claimed the decision to fire them was politically motivated.

“I will go to clarify the case without fear because the case is a civil complaint. We believe our sacking by the Ministry of Education was unjust."

“The ministry did not follow procedure, deciding only by themselves and without speaking to us as in accordance to the laws on civil servants,” Chhun said.

Ly Tith Bonamy, a lawyer representing the Ministry of Education, said it was an administrative case so the court would follow civil procedure. He said this first stage was referred to as “preparation”.

He said at this stage, each side explains their case to the court and submits evidence. The next stage would be the hearing itself.

On January 16, the 11 former education officials filed a complaint to the municipal court against Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron requesting the court reverse the ministry’s decision to sack them.

Rong Chhun, the former president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association, said at the time that the teachers had asked for temporary leave from their roles at the ministry to work as former opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) members of the commune, district and provincial councils, and for the NEC.

After the Supreme Court dissolved the opposition CNRP on November 16, 2017, he said the 11 lost their positions at the bodies and asked to return to their jobs at the ministry.

However, the ministry issued a statement saying they had been sacked as they had been absent without permission.

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