Bar Association Re-Elects President for 2nd Term

The Bar Association of Cambodia on Thursday re-elected Bun Honn as its president following a vote held at NagaWorld Casino in Phnom Penh, according to the body’s secretary-general.

Sang Sothun said Mr. Honn, who ascended to the position in November 2012, received 554 votes to defeat runner-up Som Chandyna, who acquired just 130 votes. A further 18 ballots were deemed invalid and thrown out, he added.

Lawyers line up to cast their ballots during the election for the president of the Bar Association of Cambodia at NagaWorld Casino in Phnom Penh on Thursday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
Lawyers line up to cast their ballots during the election for the president of the Bar Association of Cambodia at NagaWorld Casino in Phnom Penh on Thursday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

“After announcing the result, deputy prosecutor-general of the Court of Appeal, Tith Sothy, who was acting as the representative of the prosecutor-general [Ouk Savouth] determined that the election process was good,” Mr. Sothun said.

In May last year, Mr. Honn, a former CPP undersecretary of state at the Justice Ministry, was forced to defend himself and the bar association against claims by advocacy group Human Rights Watch that the organization lacked independence and was preventing lawyers from speaking to the media in some cases.

Contacted by telephone prior to Thursday’s vote, Mr. Honn said his achievements during his first term as president included encouraging lawyers to bring their qualifications up to international standards and encouraged some 151 lawyers to take on pro bono work.

Mr. Chandyna, the runner-up, a former lawyer for CNRP President Sam Rainsy, said he wanted the bar association to be free from influence from any political party.

“We must learn to live by ourselves and to be independent by ourselves,” he said.

Mr. Chandyna also accused Mr. Honn of buying fellow association members meals at restaurants in the lead-up to the ballot, and called on the bar association to ban such campaign tactics in the future, as they could influence voting.

Mr. Honn defended his actions, saying that under election rules, candidates were permitted to meet with voters as part of their campaigning.

“All lawyers are intellectual, so there are no strategies we can use to buy their hearts,” he said.

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Correction: An earlier version of this story said a further 17 ballots were deemed invalid and thrown out. It is 18.

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