PREAH Sihanouk provincial court issued a ruling yesterday calling for the reinvestigation in the case of a French national charged with committing indecent acts with three young boys.
Peng Manet, a lawyer from the child rights NGO Action Pour Les Enfants, represented the three alleged victims in the case – boys aged 10, 13 and 14.
She said provincial court judge Plang Samnang had ordered a reinvestigation, declining to comment further.
“This is the court’s decision and I cannot comment beyond that,” she said.
The suspect in the case, 60-year-old Bernard Roland Bouillier, was arrested in March and charged with committing indecent acts. If found guilty, he faces between one and three years in jail.
Tann Mengsroy, a defence lawyer for Bouillier, said the decision to reinvestigate the case had been based on ambiguities in the evidence against his client.
He added that the parties to the case had been summoned to a hearing next week for a re-examination of the evidence.
“I urge the court to proceed with this case soon,” Tann Mengsroy said.
Judge Plang Samnang could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Peng Manet said the families of the victims had requested that the court order compensation payments and the deportation of Bouillier upon the completion of his prison term.
In a February 2007 diplomatic cable from the American embassy in Phnom Penh released last week by WikiLeaks, United States officials worried about the growing popularity of Sihanoukville as a destination for sex tourists.
“Sihanoukville is a growing problem, and one that should concern those RGC [Royal Government of Cambodia] officials who have been adamant that they do not want the growing beach resort town to become another Southeast Asian sex tourism site,” the embassy cable said.