Adhoc Tells Bar Request for Case Files Ordinary

Rights group Adhoc has hit back at accusations from the Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia that it interferes in judicial proceedings involving its lawyers, saying that the group had merely requested that a backlog of case files be moved from the home of one lawyer to its offices.

In a letter to Adhoc on Tuesday, the Bar threatened legal action against Ny Chakrya, Adhoc’s head of monitoring, for allegedly ordering lawyers to bring all case files to him so he could scour them for irregularities in judicial procedure, based on a report from “unspecified lawyers.” 

Adhoc released a statement on Thursday explaining what it described as a misunderstanding. The group’s president, Thun Saray, said on Friday that a single lawyer responsible for Adhoc clients in four provinces had been asked to move her dossier of some 30 cases to Adhoc’s office for the sake of accountability.

“She kept all those files at her home but all the clients are Adhoc clients,” Mr. Saray said, declining to identify which of the group’s six lawyers had filed the complaint.

“We are concerned that if there is an emergency, or some kind of disaster, or if she resigns, that we won’t be able to access those files, and Adhoc is responsible to those clients,” he said. “She has agreed and brought those documents [to the office] already.”

Mr. Saray also said that the dossiers contained information regarding expenditures that are required for the internal and external auditing, including for donors, and that because the lawyer was a salaried employee, she is required to follow Adhoc’s procedures.

Bun Honn, the president of the Bar who signed the accusatory letter, could not be reached for comment.

Mr. Chakrya is also facing legal action at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court over allegations of defaming and attempting to coerce two judicial officials from Siem Reap province, who he accuses of acting unlawfully in arresting and jailing a pair of farmers over their dispute with an agricultural firm there.

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