Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Residents rejoice as court reopens case

Residents rejoice as court reopens case

Residents rejoice as court reopens case

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Villagers from Trea village, in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district, outside the Supreme Court after learning that their land dispute case would be sent back to the Appeal Court.

More than 200 residents and monks gathered outside the Supreme Court yesterday, welcoming its decision to send back to the Appeal Court a 13-year-old land-dispute case in the capital’s Meanchey district.

The case, which opened two weeks ago, was filed in 2000 by 320 families in Stung Meanchey commune’s Trea village.  They claimed a 1998 municipal court verdict had unjustly awarded 20 hectares of their land to Rotha Phirom, Vorak Satha and Kim Heang after the trio filed a lawsuit.

In 1999, the Appeal Court upheld that decision, despite villagers’ claims that they had lived on the land for years.

Yung Phanith, the villagers’ lawyer, said yesterday the Supreme Court had called on the Appeal Court to re-investigate the original case.

“The president of the Sup-reme Court, Dith Mony, declared that the Court of App-eals needed to judge this case again, seeing that there was a lack of evidence,” he said.

Village representative Pol Sorn told the Post he was pleased with the decision.

Trea village chief Cheang Hor said yesterday he and the other villagers had lived on the disputed land since 1991.

Ratha Phirom, Voreak Satha and Kim Heang were not present at yesterday’s verdict, and their lawyers could not be reached for comment.

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