FAMILIES from Phnom Penh's embattled Group 78 community filed a complaint at the Municipal Court on Tuesday seeking to overturn an April 20 eviction notice that gives them until May 5 to vacate their land in Tonle Bassac commune.
"We have come to file a complaint to the Municipal Court in order to revoke City Hall's eviction letter that asks us to accept replacement housing and US$5,000 in compensation, and to move out within 15 days," community representative Lim Sambo said at the court.
"I don't know when the court will find a resolution for us, but we will stay in our houses even after the deadline arrives. I cannot accept [City Hall's offer]."
Yin Savat, a lawyer from the Community Legal Education Centre, which is representing the residents, said the eviction notice was illegal under Cambodia's Constitution and the 2001 Land Law.
"City Hall does not have the right to evict people. Only the court can do that," he said.
The eviction notice accused villagers of living on land belonging to Sour Srun Enterprises, a local developer, and encroaching on a public road.
It also warned that if residents remain beyond May 5, it would take unspecified "administrative measures" and disavows responsibility for "any damage to the residents' property or any property lost".
But resident Si Sopheak said the community merely wanted fair treatment under the law.
"I want the company to explain to us whether it came to occupy this land before us or whether we were living here before them," he said. "We have been here since 1983, and the company came in 2006."