Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Phnom Penh court probes 2008 incident

Phnom Penh court probes 2008 incident

Phnom Penh court probes 2008 incident

130129 04
Former Dey Krahorm evictee Chan Vichet speaks with reporters outside Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Monday, Jan. 28, 2013. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

Four years since his violent eviction from the capital’s Dey Krahorm community, a former village representative appeared in court yesterday, accused of destroying public property.

Chan Vichet was the only one of 15 residents accused of damaging an excavator and bulldozer in an incident in January 2008 – about a year before the residents’ eviction from the capital’s Chamkarmon district – to appear at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

“I denied the accusations, because I was at work when the incident is supposed to have occurred,” he said, adding that the other 14 villagers had not attended court because they had not received summonses. “I have witnesses to say I wasn’t there. The commune chief said he did not see me there but accused me of ordering others to tip over an excavator.”

Tonle Bassac commune chief Khat Narith filed the complaint against the villagers, alleging that the vandalism occurred near their homes on January 29 and 30, 2008.

Vichet said the accusations against the villagers, who had been relocated 20 kilometres from Phnom Penh, were designed to intimidate them.

“I am a victim of eviction,” he said. “I cannot be happy working hard in my daily life if I have to go to court too. I cannot live peacefully.”

About 800 families lived at Dey Krahorm before a series of evictions cleared the way for the 7NG Company. The final 90 families were evicted four years ago.

The court’s deputy prosecutor, Chet Khemara, said he believed that the incident had occurred but would seek more evidence.

Am Sam Ath, technical adviser for rights group Licadho, said the majority of complaints related to land disputes that made it to court were filed by businessmen or government officials.

“There is not equality, transparency or balance between villagers and companies,” he said. “I think that the court should consider dropping the case.”

“It is not justice for villagers if they will be punished more, because they have been evicted,” he added.

A verdict will be announced February 14.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chhay Channyda at [email protected]

With assistance from Lieng Sarith

 

MOST VIEWED

  • Proof giants walked among us humans?

    For years a debate has waged about whether certain bas relief carvings at the 12th-century To Prohm Temple, one of the most popular attractions at the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Siem Reap province, depicted dinosaurs or some rather less exotic and more contemporary animal,

  • Japan bank buys major stake in ANZ Royal Bank

    Japan's largest bank acquired more than half of ANZ’s shares in Cambodia on Thursday, according to a statement from Kith Meng’s Royal Group. Japan's JTrust Bank, announced that they had acquired a 55% of stake in ANZ Royal Bank. According to a Royal Group

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty