The Appeals Court hearing of the Cambodian Bar Association’s disputed presidential election was postponed again Wednesday, after the prosecutor’s surprise filing of a second complaint charging that some participants were not eligible to vote, president-elect Suon Visal said.
In a session closed to reporters, Appeals Court Prosecutor Hang Roraken told the court he was lodging a formal dispute against the election results, as the bar’s charter allows, lawyers with the guild said after the meeting.
Hang Roraken did not explain the reasons for his challenge to the court and did not speak to reporters after the session.
But after a Wednesday night meeting with the prosecutor, Suon Visal said that Hang Roraken was disputing the participation of apprentice lawyers in the election, whose eligibility to vote is unclear in the bar’s bylaws.
Apprentice lawyers have voted for the bar president since the bar was formed, Suon Visal said.
“We have admitted both kinds of lawyers (apprentice and professional) since the first year the bar was established,” Suon Visal said. “Now, he says it’s wrong, but nine years ago it was not wrong…. I think that is biased.”
No contact information was available for Hang Roraken on Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters after the hearing, unseated incumbent Ky Tech said he did not know the basis of Hang Roraken’s complaint. The next Appeals Court hearing on the case has not been scheduled, he said.
Suon Visal was not present at the aborted hearing Wednesday morning, as he said the court did not notify his camp in time to prepare their case.
A legal aid lawyer with the Cambodian Defenders Project, Suon Visal defeated Ky Tech in an Oct 16 runoff for the bar presidency. Late last month, 40 lawyers petitioned the Appeals Court, charging that the vote was marred by irregularities.
Lawyer Dy Borima said he and his colleague, Suong Chanthon, represented all 40 lawyers.