The council of judges allowed the prosecution on Wendesday afternoon to present evidence about opposition leader Kem Sokha’s daughters that was sourced from an anonymous Facebook account, which routinely posted documents and photos related to the so-called color revolution.
The Facebook account, called “Kon Khmer,” frequently posted documents, photos and leaks in the run up to the commune election, Kem Sokha’s arrest and dissolution of the Cambodia National Rescue Party in 2017, targeting the party’s members and pushing the concocted color revolution narrative.
This is the first time evidence from the questionable source was presented in court, which has in the past few years been reproduced by pro-government local media outlets, especially government mouthpiece Fresh News.
The prosecution peppered Kem Sokha again whether the Human Rights Party had any links to foreign nations or if it had received foreign funding. However, prosecutor Vong Bun Visoth pivoted to Kem Sokha’s daughters – Kem Monovithya and Kem Samathida – asking if they had helped him meet foreign nationals and governments.
The opposition leader refused to answer questions about his daughters, saying there was no link between them and his political work.
“Even Hun Sen said if you want to have a fight do it individually. Do not involve families,” he said. “Please do not involve my family.”
Vong Bun Visoth then referred to documents and information sourced from the “Kon Khmer” social media page about Kem Sokha’s daughters being educated in the U.S. and a photo of Kem Monovithya probably with Jackson Cox, who was the country director for the U.S.-funded International Republican Institute.
The photos were not displayed clearly in court, despite there being a projector system, with lawyers only holding up A4-size printouts of the photographs in court.
Kem Sokha quickly objected to the source of the information and queried if the prosecution or court had validated the source of the information.
“I want you to investigate the actual evidence. I am not going to answer questions about information sourced from Facebook,” he said.
However, the presiding judge Kuy Sao ignored Kem Sokha’s objections and said the information was part of the case file and had been considered by the investigating judge. “So, there is nothing wrong with this [information],” Kuy Sao said.
However, the prosecution seemed to then drop that line of questioning and, for the third time, questioned Kem Sokha about a 2012 meeting he had with former U.S. State Department official Daniel Baer, prior to the 2012 commune elections.
The prosecution has consistently used this meeting to suggest that it was a secretive meeting with Kem Sokha to secure funding for his Human Rights Party. This has been the only proposition put forth by the prosecution when debating Kem Sokha’s political work from late 2007 to 2012 to suggest a link to the United States, which allegedly aided in the color revolution.
As the presiding judge decided that this timeframe of Kem Sokha’s career, 2007 to 2012, had been adequately examined, he allowed the defense to detail the new evidence it had submitted to the court on Tuesday.
Meng Sopheary explained that 16 pieces of evidence from Kem Sokha’s tenure at the CNRP had been submitted to the court, consisting of eight short video clips and eight photographs.
As discussion about the new evidence commenced, the hearing turned into a finger-pointing match between the prosecution and government lawyers on one side and the defense on the other side.
The government lawyers started to nitpick at the evidence presented by the defense, complaining about the official stamps and signatures used by defense lawyers to validate their evidence.
The back-and-forth started to get heated and turned into a nearly two-hour long argument, despite the presiding judge Kuy Sao frequently saying that the trial was being prolonged and that he did not want to waste time.
Meng Sopheary also said in court that the defense had not received documents used by the prosecution during cross examination, seemingly referring to the “Kon Khmer” evidence.
It was not clear if the defense had not received all the contents of the case file or only some of the documents, but the judges said that additional copies of the evidence in the case file would be given to the defense.
The trial will enter its eighth day on Thursday and will continue to examine the evidence presented by the defense. After four weeks of hearings, not a single witness has been invited to provide testimony in the trial so far.