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Woman allegedly declines settlement over rape attempt

Woman allegedly declines settlement over rape attempt

A26-YEAR-OLD ethnic Kreung woman in Ratanakkiri province has filed a complaint against a military commander based in Voeun Sai district who she said tried to rape her, then offered to pay for her silence with 10,000 riels (US$2.40), a chicken and some alcohol.

Phan Dina, the provincial police chief, said the complaint had been filed at the provincial police station on Monday, and that the case will be difficult to investigate because the woman has already discussed the possibility of reaching an out-of-court settlement with her alleged assailant.

The woman, a resident of Voeun Sai district, said on Monday that the commander, who is also her brother-in-law, attacked her on May 25 when she went to his home in search of her sister, and that she fought him off and called to neighbours for help.

“I did not love him because I am already married,” she said. “We have known each other for over 10 years already, and I never thought he could do something like this because he is also married and has many big children.”

She said authorities in her community – including the village chief, village elders and 30 others tasked with processing such cases – had on Saturday ordered the military commander to pay 4 million riels (US$953) in compensation.

But the suspect refused, she said, and had presented a counter offer of 10,000 riels, one chicken and a jar of alcohol. After reportedly refusing to accept those terms, the woman filed her complaint with police.

Phan Dina said that no charges have been laid in the case.

“We are making inquiries with the victim and witnesses, and examining the scene. We are not clear yet whether the case was true or not,” he said. “We need to investigate before we can record the case and send it to the prosecutor in accordance with legal procedure.”

A report on sexual violence in Cambodia released in March by the international rights group Amnesty International lambasted what its authors described as the common practice of police and court officials’ arranging for rape victims to receive illegal out-of-court payments rather than bringing perpetrators to trial.

Officials should pursue prosecutions even when complaints are not filed by victims, provided there is sufficient evidence, the report said.

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