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Residents in Land Dispute Take on Courts

Villagers in a remote northwestern province are taking their concerns over an alleged land theft to the highest justice offices in Cambodia.

The villagers have filed a suit against their own provincial courts with the Ministry of Justice and the oversight body for the courts, the Supreme Council of Magistracy.

Thiem Chenda, 30, filed a suit Tuesday against provincial prosecutor So Vath and judge Nov Yaroath.

The rare move comes as Cambodians face increasing pressures from potentially destabilizing land grabs.

Seng Sokkhim, Thiem Chenda’s laywer, said the court officials had canceled a warrant to protect the land.

So Vath said the judge had been “careless,” and the suit should proceed. Nov Yaroath said he had visited a piece of disputed land, but he did not bring security forces with him, as alleged.