Cambodia has fallen into a “dictatorship” over a recent case involving the alleged destruction of Vietnamese border markers in Svay Rieng province, a border expert in France said Monday.
Opposition leader Sam Rainsy is facing criminal charges for incitement and destruction of property for allegedly leading villagers to uproot border markers in Chantrea district in October.
But Sean Pengse, president of the Cambodia Border Committee in France, said the border demarcation was illegal in the first place, as it had encroached on Cambodian farmers’ land.
Instead, he said, authorities laid down markers in the middle of fields.
“Such things as this are done only by communists and dictatorships,” he said, as a guest on “Hello VOA.”
Cambodia law provides protection for people who have lived on a plot of land for more than five years, granting them ownership, he said.
Chantrea villagers say their land was being encroached on by the Vietnamese, which led to the October incident.
Sam Rainsy, who is now in France, has had his parliamentarian immunity suspended and is facing an arrest warrant for failing to appear at an arraignment in December.
Cambodia has been in negotiations over its porous borders for years, but alleged encroachment by neighboring countries remains a political lightning rod.