The re-investigation into the murder of Free Trade Union of Workers of the
Kingdom of Cambodia President Chea Vichea ended in late November and concluded
nothing was wrong with the original investigation.
Phnom Penh Municipal
Court Deputy Prosecutor Khut Sopheang originally received the case from
investigating judge Nhean Sovan. On December 7, Sopheang sent the case back to
"I have checked the case, and we have not changed our
accusations against the murder suspects," Sopheang told the Post.
he does not know when the murder trial will begin.
Phnom Penh Municipal
Court Vice-President Nup Sophon, who is in charge of appointing judges for
trials, said he had not received the case yet.
"I think it is still in
the hands of the investigating judge, because he has many cases to run and it
would probably be late," Sophon told the Post on December 13.
could not contact Judge Sovan for comments.
Two men, Bourn Samnang, 23,
and Sok Samoeun, 36, stand accused of the January 22 murder of Vichea, an
outspoken Sam Rainsy Party supporter. The two suspects were arrested on January
Two days later, on January 30, Samnang confessed to shooting Vichea,
but later retracted his admission, telling reporters and a news conference that
he was beaten. Samoeun has always denied the charge.
The original charges
were dropped on March 19 by investigating judge Hing Thirith, citing lack of
evidence against the two suspects. Judge Thirith has since been transferred to
Stung Treng Province.
The prosecution lodged an appeal to Judge Thirith's
On July 1, the Court of Appeal upheld the
prosecution's challenge and sent the case back the Municipal Court, saying the
previous investigation was not completed. The case was then assigned to Judge
Sovan on September 23.
Samoeun's defense lawyer, Khov Chantha, said the
investigating judge had already found that the suspects were not involved in the
"The investigating judge told me that the suspects were
innocent, but it is their bad luck," said Chantha.
He said the
investigating judge, prosecutor and Appeal Court judge passed the case on to
each other because they were afraid of losing their positions, or suffering the
same fate as Judge Thirith.
Chantha said both suspects have been detained
at Provisional Jail since they were arrested.