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Mondulkiri land dispute cases under probe

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The role of the team is to investigate each case of land encroachment and illegal logging in protected areas of Mondulkiri. ENVIRONMENT MINISTRY

Mondulkiri land dispute cases under probe

An inter-ministerial team is preparing a report for government leaders next week after finishing research on cases of land encroachment and illegal logging in Mondulkiri province.

Meanwhile, civil society organisations are requesting the government to enforce the law on powerful officials related to a case in the province, said Ministry of Environment spokesman and deputy director of the team Neth Pheaktra.

“The inter-ministerial team finished its mission on Mondulkiri on July 31. The team investigated and checked some related documents besides visiting related locations,” said Pheaktra.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sar Kheng organised the team as per the instructions of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The role of the team is to investigate each case of land encroachment and illegal logging in protected areas of Mondulkiri.

The team has to collect documents and evidence related to all land offences, Sar Kheng said.

Pheaktra said: “Next, we will prepare the report and send it to our leaders to decide [a course of action].”

Former Ministry of Justice under-secretary of state Seng Sovannara and three people were recently issued a temporary detention order by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on four charges related to provincial land disputes.

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The team’s deputy director Neth Pheaktra (centre) said civil society organisations are requesting the governmentto enforce the law on powerful officials related to a case in the province. ENVIRONMENT MINISTRY

The offences are connected to 1,000ha of State land in the province and the four offenders were interrogated by a representative of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on June 27.

Adhoc’s Mondulkiri provincial coordinator Eang Mengly said the Council of Ministers showed the names of officials who encroached on State land to the Ministry of Interior.

The inter-ministerial team and the leaders of the government, therefore, must enforce the law against those officials to prevent further cases of land encroachment, Mengly said.

“Law enforcement must be effective to protect State land. I urge government leaders to enforce the laws. If the implementation of the law is flawed and does not apply to individuals or corrupt officials, then that would be bad,” Mengly said.

Forest activist Kroeung Tola has been pushing for the inter-ministerial team to investigate the land dispute cases in the province because they were occurring on a large scale and involved powerful people in the community.

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