This is to clarify two statements attributed me that regrettably were misquoted in
your article "Land ownership 'a real mess'; courts backed up," in Vol.5,
No. 12 of June 14-27, 1996.
Initially, the article omits an end-quotation mark in the middle of the second paragraph,
making it appear that I stated that "prisoners languish in prison" awaiting
trial while the courts' time is taken up handling property disputes. I would simply
clarify that I stated only that the courts must spend a significant amount of time
on these cases. Although this may generally affect the courts' ability to bring crimincal
cases to trial more quickly, the statement that "prisoners languish" while
the court deals with property disputes did not come from me and is entirely editorial
commentary by the reporter.
Most importantly, I was quoted as saying that in certain provincial towns, "[we
are] aware of powerful people snatching land and paying the courts off for favorable
decisions concerning land title." My statement, in fact, was only that I was
aware of "allegations" that such activities were taking place. I did not
assert that I or my colleagues were aware that any such incidents had occurred in
actuality. Regrettably, my statement was published without this important qualification.
- Joshua Sondheimer, Legal Advisor, Cambodian Court Training Project.