TWO leading rights groups vowed Thursday to file a request to the Supreme Council of the Magistracy (SCM) for an investigation into the alleged misconduct of a Ratanakkiri judge who earlier this week admitted to illegally driving a truck that had been impounded as evidence in a robbery that led to two deaths.
In a joint statement, Licadho and the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) also decried what they termed the harassment of rights workers, activists and at least one journalist in the province. They said an ongoing land dispute involving the private company DM Group had been marked by “derisory compensation and the intimidation of indigenous families by local authorities seemingly working in the interests of the private company”.
The request for an investigation of Ratanakkiri provincial court judge Thor Saron – which CCHR President Ou Virak said would be submitted “soon” – would follow a similar request to the SCM sent by CCHR on September 10. In that request, CCHR charged, among other accusations, that Thor Saron may have committed an ethics violation by telling Adhoc activist Pen Bonnar that he would face prosecution on charges of defamation, incitement and terrorism if he remained in the province.
In an interview Thursday, Ou Virak said he believed the second request was necessary.
“I think there’s more misconduct that has come into light,” he said, referring specifically to the revelation that Thor Saron had used the impounded Toyota Tiger for personal use.
“That’s beyond ridiculous,” Ou Virak said.
Thor Saron said Thursday that he had only used the car for work-related trips.
Ou Virak said he had not heard anything from the SCM regarding its original request, adding: “We expect a proper investigation into the alleged misconduct.”