4 Suspended Court Officials To Be Reinstated

As Supreme Council of Magis­tracy members approved judges and prosecutors for the Khmer Rouge tribunal on Thursday, they also agreed to reinstate three suspended Phnom Penh court officials and the Battambang court’s suspended prosecutor, Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana said Tuesday.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court former Deputy Director Nop So­phon and judges Kim Sophorn and Tan Senarong—all of whom were suspended in October for unspecified wrongdoing—will be given new jobs in other locations, Ang Vong Vath­ana said.

Battambang Chief Prosecutor Yam Yet, who was suspended in Au­g­ust, also for unspecified wrongdoing, will be reinstated as chief pros­e­cutor in Prey Veng Provincial Court.

“There were mistakes in checking the cases,” Ang Vong Vathana said of the original decision to suspend the officials, though he added that he was not entirely certain why the decision was made.

Municipal Court Judge Buninh Bun­nary, suspended with the three others in October, has not been re­instated, Ang Vong Vathana said, though he did not specify why.

Tan Senarong said he has been appointed to work as a judge in Kandal’s Provincial Court, but de­clined further comment.

Nop Sophon said he had not heard about his reinstatement and did not know where he would be assigned to work.

“I would be able to work anywhere,” he added.

Kim Sophorn said he has been post­ed to Sihanoukville Municipal Court but declined to comment further.

Yam Yet said he did not know what prompted his suspension. But he thought it might be that he had dropped charges against a suspected robber who had been rearrested following Prime Minister Hun Sen’s so-called “iron fist” campaign against corruption in the judiciary.

“The superiors said I was wrong. The royal decree to suspend me said that I…applied the wrong char­ges to crimes,” Yam Yet said. “But I don’t know what case it referred to.”

The reinstatements come after seven other suspended or former municipal court officials convicted on corruption charges in December following the “iron fist” campaign were acquitted in a retrial at Bat­tambang court last month.

 

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