The Supreme Court has rejected a bid to re-hear a case involving land seized as state property from the widow of a former Funcinpec Party secretary of state at the Ministry of Interior who was killed during factional fighting in 1997.
In a verdict issued on October 30 and obtained by the Post yesterday, Supreme Court judge Khim Pon said Funcinpec asked the court to resolve the issue by granting 133,000 square metres of land to Chea Kim, the widow of Ho Sok, but the court rejected the request.
The verdict said Chea Kim had fled to the US in 1997 after her husband’s death and had not occupied the land since, thereby forfeiting her ownership rights.
“Article 76 of the land law states that abandonment for more than three years makes land state property,” the verdict reads.
Chea Kim’s lawyer Lin La Nin criticised the “illegal decision”, explaining that within a year of her client moving to the US, 33 families had squatted on the land.
“I will still file the complaint to the court asking for it to be judged again,” she said.
Last year, the Supreme Court awarded the land to Prak Savuth, Kratie provincial council member for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, overturning a 2007 verdict in favour of Chea Kim.
Lin La Nin requested the Supreme Court re-examine the case between Chea Kim and the 33 families, who had since bought the land from Prak Savuth, because he had stolen Ho Sok’s land to sell to them, she said.
Prak Savuth could not be reached by the Post for comment yesterday.