In the latest court decision against SRP leader Sam Rainsy, the Court of Appeal upheld a ruling by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday rejecting the opposition leader’s request for a committee to be established to review whether Cambodian territory has been lost to Vietnam through border demarcation, Mr Rainsy’s lawyer said.
Lawyer Chou Choungy said his client would not accept the appeal court ruling and would seek further judicial action at the Supreme Court.
“The situation seems political,” Mr Choungy said, adding that the judge had told him during yesterday’s hearing that he could not allow the creation of an independent committee as the government already had its own border committee headed by Var Kimhong.
Judge Chuon Sunleng, who attended yesterday’s hearing, declined to comment and referred questions to chief Judge Nhong Thol, who could not be reached.
The government on Feb 26 lodged a complaint against Mr Rainsy, accusing him of spreading so-called disinformation and disseminating false documents in his attempts to prove that Vietnam had gained territory on Cambodia’s eastern border as a result of the frontier demarcation process.
After Mr Rainsy was charged with the alleged crimes, Mr Choungy called on the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to form a committee to review the opposition party’s evidence of territory loss.
Government lawyer Ky Tech said by telephone yesterday that Mr Rainsy’s appeal held no weight, and that he had already been charged with spreading disinformation and disseminating false documents in relation to his border claims.
“I feel that this is justice for the government,” said Mr Tech, a former president of the Cambodian Bar Association.
SRP spokesman Yim Sovann said he was unsurprised by the appeal court’s ruling and the fact that the government’s border demarcation process will not be scrutinized.
“As we know the government tends to do things secretly,” he said.