Funcinpec president Nhek Bun Chhay has written to the president of the Cambodian Supreme Court, Dith Monty, to demand a review of a case relating to the lands of former party secretary and Ministry of Interior Ho Sok, who was killed in factional fighting in 1997.
Over the years since Ho Sok’s death, there have been multiple court cases to establish rightful ownership of the property.
After years of bitter wrangling between Ho Sok’s widow and Prak Savuth, Kratie provincial council member for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, the Supreme Court ruled in October that Ho Sok’s lands should be taken into state ownership.
Funcinpec is supporting the claim of Ho Sok’s widow, Chea Kim, who took refuge in the US with her children after her husband’s death.
While in exile, 133,000 square metres of land belonging to her late husband was sold by Prak Savuth to 33 local families.
Although the Supreme Court recognised Ho Sok’s right to the land in a decision in 2007, it nationalised the property in late 2011 using Article 76 of the land law, which states that abandonment for more than three years makes land state property.
“I would like his Excellency the President to reopen the judgment of the Supreme Court on the case dated September 27, 2010, in order to give justice to Mrs Chea Kim so that she might occupy the land according to the law,” Nhek Bun Chhay wrote.
“The decision of the judges in this case did not accord with the judgments in the preceding cases that had established that Prak Savuth had illegally acquired and sold the land of his Excellency Ho Sok,” he wrote.
Dith Monty could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Prak Savuth and his legal representative declined to provide a statement.
To contact the reporter on this story: Meas Sokchea at [email protected]