The Ministry of Interior has officially registered a newly created “Kem Ley Foundation Association” after months of processing the application.
Chhim Kan, director of the Interior Ministry’s Department of Associations and Political Parties, yesterday confirmed the association’s registration had been successful.
“We already approved the Kem Ley foundation to be registered,” he said, adding that the final approval had come through in the last two weeks.
The registration letter was signed by Interior Ministry Secretary of State Pol Lim on January 30.
Ley, a widely revered political commentator and frequent government critic, was murdered in broad daylight in July of 2016, shortly after he spoke to the media about a new Global Witness report on the business interests of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s family.
Sao Kosal, president of the new foundation, said that “the purpose of the foundation is to continue what Kem Ley did . . . Because, as you know, Kem Ley was killed because of [his advocating for] freedom of expression.”
The association will officially launch mid-March, Kosal said, and will conduct social research on issues like the impact of land concessions on communities. They will also look for a lawyer to “encourage the government” to investigate Ley’s killing again, as “right now [the past investigation] does not seem reasonable.”
While Ley’s killer was arrested shortly after the shooting, his motives were widely questioned – even by his own family – and government officials themselves have suggested the shooter didn’t act alone, despite having closed the case with no further arrests.
Kosal said the Kem Ley Foundation Association was still looking for funding for their activities.
According to the association’s statute, Ley’s brother, Kem Rithisith, is the board director, and secretary of the association is Seng Sary.