A LEADING human rights group has expressed its concern about the outcome of a Ministry of Justice investigation into Ratanakkiri Judge Thor Saron, accused of using a pickup truck confiscated during a murder investigation.
In a statement issued on Friday, the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) rejected the ministry’s ruling that Thor Saron’s use of the truck was permissible since it was “in response to an actual demand and was in the public interest”.
“The CCHR opines that this revelation is contrary to the evidence against Judge Thor and is disappointed by what it considers a missed opportunity for the Justice Ministry,” the statement said, adding it would write to King Norodom Sihamoni in a bid to reopen the invesigation.
CCHR president Ou Virak said the ruling set a “horrible precedent” by legitimising the confiscation of private property by court officials.
“This will add a lot of incentive for judges to confiscate valuables,” he said. “This is an ongoing problem with the Cambodian courts in general.”
Kim Sophorn, a court inspector at the Ministry’s General Inspection Department said Thar Saron’s use of the truck did not warrant further punitive action. “For reasons of necessity, it was used for transporting culprits and prisoners from prison to prosecution at the court house,” he said.
When contacted on Sunday, Thor Saron welcomed the inspection team’s assessment but did not comment further.