B ATTAMBANG - The vast majority of murders in this province appear to be
committed by government soldiers - and they don't like being caught - according
to Chief Judge Nil Non.
The judge said last week he was a target for
irate soldiers who did not like his attempts to investigate their
On Saturday July 15, a military jeep tried to ram his car off
a Battambang road - the fourth such incident he had faced since he became Chief
Judge of Battambang Court early last year.
He believed the latest attempt
was related to his recent imprisoning of five soldiers, and issuing of warrants
for ten others, for suspected crimes.
They included the murder of a
policeman for his motorbike, an armed robbery at a Battambang market and thefts
from an NGO office.
The judge estimated that 90 per cent of the murders
brought to the court's attention were committed by government soldiers, or at
least "people in [government] military uniforms carrying guns".
a serious problem. Many of the murders here are committed by
"We are also facing a problem with soldiers putting pressure on
the court. The military say I am a hard-liner and I am always against the
He said his car was hit three times last year, or nearly hit,
by military-type vehicles trying to ram him.
In the latest incident this
month, he braked suddenly to avoid a jeep driven at high speed toward
"I was very scared because my children were also in my
Non said he had been offered six police bodyguards, providing he
paid them 1,000 riels each a day, which he could not afford.
have any security but I live close to the military police commander and the
police commander here, and they help me.
"Sometimes the military police
help protect me. They follow me when I go out to eat, to watch over
Non, a former Phnom Penh Faculty of Law instructor sent to
Battambang court early last year, said there were 1,000 unresolved murder cases
on the books when he arrived.
There had been another 700 since then,
which he was working his way through.
He said much of the province's
crime occurred in rural districts, particularly Mong Russey, Banan and Ek Phnom,
where fighting with the Khmer Rouge was common.
Much, he believed, was
committed by soldiers who then blamed the Khmer Rouge.