Authorities Charged in Slaying Still on the Job

More than 100 police and military police officers are still on the job more than two months after they were among those charged with the intentional killing of five vil­lagers during March’s bloody eviction in Poipet, officials reported.

“How can we detain them?” Bat­tambang Prosecutor Yam Yet, whose court is in charge of the case, asked Sunday. “It’s more than 100, so we cannot detain them.”

Four people—two Poipet commune police officers, a Banteay Me­anchey provincial military po­lice officer and a civilian who al­legedly impersonated a police officer—are jailed in Battambang.

Yam Yet said Battambang Pro­v­incial Court Investigating Judge Nil Non has already questioned some of the more than 100 char­ged but is still working.

Yam Yet said Nil Non, who re­fused to comment on Tuesday, spends about three days each week in Banteay Meanchey investigating the case.

The prosecutor would not reveal what information has been glean­ed from the interviews so far.

Cambodian Defenders Project lawyer Am Sovann, who is defending some of the villagers, said that the four detained were questioned on May 20 but that he was not in­vited to attend the hearing.

Am Sovann added that he did not know what the status of the case related to the March 21 incident when more than 100 heavily ar­med police and military police of­ficers—ordered to evict 218 families from Kbal Spean village—opened fire on the villagers.

Villager Chey Sophat said that some villagers were expected to ap­pear for questioning on Friday and that those injured in the shooting and the relatives of those killed would appear in Battambang court on June 16 and 17.

CDP Executive Director Sok Sam Oeun said Tuesday that the gov­ernment should treat everyone who commits a crime the same by putting them in jail.

But he said the biggest question, who ordered the shootings, is still no closer to being answered.

“They still think whoever or­dered the shootings is high-ranking so it’s okay,” he said.

 

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