Lawyers in Cambodia are bracing for a flood of cases against unfaithful spouses following the first conviction on Friday under the country’s controversial Law on Monogamy
Khek Ravy, former Funcinpec secretary of state and current Football Federation of Cambodia first vice-president, was convicted of adultery in the Phnom Penh Municipal Court and fined $250, municipal court Deputy Prosecutor Sok Kalyan said Sunday.
The monogamy law, which was passed by the National Assembly in September 2006, makes unfaithfulness a criminal offense and prescribes prison sentences of one to 12 months for those found guilty of conducting extra-marital affairs.
Khek Ravy confirmed on Sunday that his former wife Nina K You brought the case against him.
“The prosecutor informed me in August that I was being sued by my wife for adultery for $500,000 in compensation,” Khek Ravy wrote by e-mail Sunday evening, adding that he had pleaded guilty to the offense.
“The court has decided that there shall be no penal sentence against me and that I shall compensate Nina K You $250 (not the $500,000.00 demanded),” he wrote.
“My only comment on the Court’s decisions is that justice has prevailed,” he added.
Nina K You could not be contacted for comment.
Khek Ravy also said that he had filed for divorce one year and a half ago but the proceedings are still ongoing due to differences over finances and assets.
“We have not heard if [Khek Ravy] wishes to appeal the verdict,” said Sok Kalyan, adding that it was the first conviction he had heard of in an adultery case.
Khek Ravy’s uncle, former Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh, has also been charged under the monogamy law over alleged extra-marital activities.
Sok Kalyan said that he did not know why the case against the prince, who was charged under the law in March, had not yet reached the court.
Sok Sam Oeun, executive director of the legal aid NGO Cambodian Defenders Project, agreed that this was the first conviction under the monogamy law.
Since the monogamy law was passed last year there have been many inquiries, but no case had yet gone the distance in court, Sok Sam Oeun said, adding that he expected more people might take cases now that a precedent for conviction had been set.
An adultery case is relatively easy to prove providing the victim and the person the accused is alleged to be involved with give testimony to that effect, he said.
Sok Sam Oeun said the imposition of a fine or a jail sentence is at the discretion of the judge, depending on the seriousness of the case.
Norodom Ranariddh Party spokesman Muth Channtha said Monday that he did not know the status of the adultery case against Prince Ranariddh.
“The court never informed us about this case again,” he said. “Maybe…the plaintiff dropped the case.”