Khmer Radio / Hello VOA

Appeals Court Decision on Boeung Kak 13 a ‘Bad Sign,’ Analyst Says

Thirteen women hastily convicted in May after their arrest in a land demonstration were released from jail on Wednesday, June 27, 2012.
Thirteen women hastily convicted in May after their arrest in a land demonstration were released from jail on Wednesday, June 27, 2012.
Sok KhemaraVOA Khmer

Last month’s release of 13 women jailed for protesting a housing development in Phnom Penh was good news for the women incarcerated, but by upholding the lower court’s judgement, the Appeal Court set a bad precedent, observers say.

The Appeals Court did not overturn a guilty verdict hastily handed the women by Phnom Penh Municipal Court, but released them with time served, after they were arrested for constructing a house on the Boeung Kak site of a forced eviction in May.

 

Analyst Lao Monghay told “Hello VOA” Thursday the Phnom Penh court’s decision had little basis in law. The Appeals Court decision to uphold the judgement—though reduce the sentence—was “a bad example of the Cambodian court, which did not try them based on legal procedures,” he said.

The court “did not find clear evidence, had no witnesses, and so on,” he said. “And the Appeals Court upheld the Phnom Penh court as making the right judgement. Then others will do the same, meaning that in the future they will not need to investigate a great deal but immediately try them when police arrest them and imprison them.”

That will cause worry among the populace, he said, that they can be immediately imprisoned after their arrest. “This is a bad sign for people in general.”

Even though the women are now free, he said, they are still convicted of a crime. “Releasing them I don’t think was justice for them all, but it was compassion,” he said.

The women were arrested as they tried to reconstruct a house at the Boeung Kak development site following a forced eviction and destruction of their homes. They were charged with illegally occupying land and defying local authorities.

Am Sam Ath, head investigator for the rights group Adhoc, said the charges against them did not fit the act. “What we regret is that although the Appeals Court decided to let the 13 people out of prison, it still upheld the verdict of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court,” he said. “It’s not justice for 13 people who did not commit anything like the charges.”

Instead, he said, the Appeals Court decision underscored the need for reform in the Cambodian judiciary.

“If the court system is not independent, impunity and the influence of politicians on the court will continue,” he said. “So NGOs have urged the government to speed up reform, especially judicial reform, and make the court independent.”

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one
Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Will Continue Supporting Khmer Rouge Tribunal, Diplomat Saysi
X
28 August 2014
The US will continue its support for the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal, a senior US diplomat says. In an interview with VOA Khmer in Phnom Penh, Scot Marciel, the top diplomat for Asia and Pacific at the US State Department, said the tribunal can serve as an example to Cambodians and the world. “We are very pleased to be abel to contribute to this tribunal, and we certainly welcome the results of the recent case,” Marciel said, referring to recent life sentences for aging leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan. (Sok Khemara, Phnom Penh)

English with Mani & Mori

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Doze Off (Movie: Hairspray)i
X
25 August 2014
You can say, "I don't know why, but every time I eat 'prahok' (Cambodian anchovy) I find myself 'dozing off' all the time." What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to facebook.com/voakhmer or www.youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.com.
Video

Video Doze Off (Movie: Hairspray)

You can say, "I don't know why, but every time I eat 'prahok' (Cambodian anchovy) I find myself 'dozing off' all the time." What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to facebook.com/voakhmer or youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.
Video

Video Scratch Someone's Back (Movie: Batman Begins)

You can say, "Yeah sure, I can get you a job at CNN easily. Now, if 'YOU SCRATCH MY BACK, I'LL SCRATCH YOURS'." What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.com.
Video

Video Wild Goose Chase (Movie: Inside Man)

You can say, "The policeman was sent on a 'wild goose chase' to find the killer. All the clues that were given to him turned out to be false." What does it mean? Watch here.
Video

Video Let Bygones Be Bygones (Movie: The Social Network)

You can say, "I know he hurt you, he gave up on you, and that broke your heart. But that's the past, you have to 'let bygones be bygones." What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.com.
See more >>>