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US court again orders Chevron to cooperate in Kem Ley case

A man watches as members of the public gather around a petrol station the morning after political analyst Kem Ley was murdered in July 2016.
A man watches as members of the public gather around a petrol station the morning after political analyst Kem Ley was murdered in July 2016. Heng Chivoan

US court again orders Chevron to cooperate in Kem Ley case

A United States district judge has again ordered oil giant Chevron to turn over files it may possess relating to the assassination of political analyst Kem Ley – and to give exiled former opposition leader Sam Rainsy permission to use the material in ongoing legal proceedings.

The court previously ordered California-based Chevron, which owns the Caltex petrol station where Ley was killed, to turn over the material in August after Rainsy filed the document request at the court, but the two parties were unable to agree on the terms of the handover.

The order, signed by Judge Donna Ryu of the US District Court of Northern California on Wednesday morning, gives Rainsy the right to use the Chevron material in two ongoing cases: a complaint filed by Rainsy at the International Criminal Court accusing Cambodian officials of crimes against humanity, and a pending appeal of a defamation conviction against Rainsy initiated by Prime Minister Hun Sen over the former’s claim that Ley’s murder was an act of “state-sponsored terrorism”. It also requires the parties to agree on the terms within a week.

Braden Reddall, a spokesman for Chevron, said yesterday that the order was simply “clarifying an open issue”.

“The order does not affect Chevron Corporation’s prior agreement to voluntarily produce documents to Applicants,” Reddall said in an email.

Rainsy could not be reached yesterday and his laywers declined to comment.

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