The National Assembly has yet to restore parliamentary immunity for opposition lawmaker Mu Sochua, following a defamation case against her last year, and officials indicated Monday the procedure is stuck somewhere between the legislative body and the Ministry of Justice.
Mu Sochua, a Sam Rainsy Party representative for Kampot province, had her immunity stripped by the Assembly in 2009, after was sued by Prime Minister Hun Sen for defamation. She was later ordered to pay court fines and damages, effectively closing the case.
Procedurally, the Ministry of Justice makes the official request for the removal of immunity to the National Assembly in order to pursue a trial. It must then also inform the National Assembly when the trial process is complete, legal experts said.
Mu Sochua said Wednesday the Ministry of Justice had “turned a deaf ear” to her case because she does not belong to the ruling party.
Cheam Yiep, a National Assembly lawmaker for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, said the Assembly was waiting for the letter from the Ministry of Justice.
“The National Assembly cannot restore Mu Sochua’s immunity if there is firstly no letter from the Ministry of Justice,” he said.
But justice officials say they have forwarded the proper information to the National Assembly.
Bun Yay Narin, spokesman for the ministry, said it had submitted a letter to the National Assembly last week, and he referred further questions to Leng Peng Long, the secretary-general of the National Assembly.
Leng Peng Long was not available for comment.