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KPP chief calls for a review of CNRP ban

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Soung Sophorn speaks to the press in September. Heng Chivoan

KPP chief calls for a review of CNRP ban

Khmer Power Party President Soung Sophorn has called on the Supreme Council of Magistracy to review last year’s Supreme Court decision that dissolved the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).

Sophorn called the decision “not right”, and said it was based on no evidence and riddled with irregularities.

Among the duties of the Supreme Council of Magistracy is the promotion and disciplining of judges and prosecutors.

Sophorn, a lawyer, pointed to grounds where the Supreme Court’s decision did not meet proper legal procedures.

The decision was not based on existing law, he said, and there was not nearly enough evidence to support the verdict.

He also argued that the prosecutor failed to prove intent on the part of Kem Sokha and the CNRP, and failed to prove that the party’s actions had any effect on national security.

He said if the decision stood, it would only bring embarrassment to the Kingdom.

“As a lawmaker, I conclude that the dissolution of the CNRP was not right. The government should reconsider the case so as not to be embarrassed on the international stage.

“The Supreme Council of Magistracy should reconsider the decision and look into whether the judges were pressured and, if so, by whom.

“If they find that the decision was not based on proper legal procedures then everything would automatically need to be reviewed,” he said.

The CNRP was dissolved by the Supreme Court on November 16, based on a complaint filed by the Ministry of Interior that relied on a single narrative – that the CNRP was attempting to overthrow the government through a “colour revolution”, aided by the US.

The party’s president was accused of conspiring with foreigners seeking to overthrow the government.

The accusation was based on a 2013 video clip which showed Sokha saying to supporters in Australia that he had been aided in his political career by the US.

But the accusation was considered politically motivated to crack down on the opposition.

“I think the decision to dissolve the CNRP contradicts proper legal procedures.

“So . . . the Supreme Council of Magistracy should investigate the judges who moved to dissolve the CNRP,” he said.

Justice Ministry spokesman Chin Malin said on Monday that Sophorn’s comments were inappropriate and that the magistracy can only take on a case if a complaint is filed.

Legal experts declined to comment on the matter when contacted by The Post.

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