If the Supreme Court does not make a ruling on who will lead the Cambodian Bar Association Council by October, the group may dissolve, the association’s president-elect warned Monday.
Suon Visal said the mandate for the council’s members ends on Oct 16 and without a resolution to a lengthy deadlock over its presidency, the bar will “automatically dissolve itself.”
More than six months after controversy erupted over who was entitled to lead the Cambodian Bar Association Council, lawyers are still waiting for a Supreme Court decision to see who will emerge as the group’s president.
The controversy erupted following an Oct 16 vote that saw long-time legal aid lawyer Suon Visal defeat incumbent Ky Tech in a run-off by 19 votes of a total 236 cast, marking the first time a legal aid lawyer has won.
In a Nov 19 closed-door decision, Appeals Court Judge Thou Mony overruled the election results and ordered Ky Tech to be immediately reinstated as president of the Bar Council. Suon Visal appealed the decision shortly afterward.
“We want the case to be tried soon because we want to hear what is going to happen next,” Suon Visal said. “The bar cannot do anything at this time,” he said, adding that meetings convened by Ky Tech have failed to meet quorum.
Ky Tech on Monday called lawyers supporting Suon Visal “the destroyers of the bar” but added: “There is no obstacle. The lack of quorum does not happen.”
Ky Tech also claimed that those supporting Suon Visal were not paying their fees to the organization.
A Supreme Court clerk said there was no date scheduled for the hearing because the judge in charge is still reviewing the matter.
Association Secretary-General Ly Tay Seng said last week that the association’s day-to-day operations continue as normal, but that there is little interaction between the camp that supports Suon Visal and Ky Tech’s supporters.
He said the Bar Council has met twice since November.