Court Overrules Decision to Compensate Dey Krahorm Families

The Court of Appeal on Friday overruled a decision by the Municipal Court ordering the company 7NG Group to provide a total of $195,000 in compensation to 13 families whose houses were destroyed during the violent eviction of the Dey Krahorm community in 2009.

“The Court of Appeal has decided to reject the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s verdict, which ordered 7NG to pay compensation,” Presiding Judge Thou Mony said on Friday.

Instead, Judge Mony ordered 7NG group to provide apartments for the former house owners on the outskirts of the city, and a much smaller amount of money.

“The [Appeal Court] orders 7NG company to provide 13 flats located in Damnak Trayoeng village, in Pur Senchey district’s Choam Chao commune, to the 13 families and 777,700 riel,” or about $195 to be split among the families, he said.

7NG appealed the Municipal Court’s March decision in October.

The ruling, Judge Mony said, was now in line with 7NG’s initial offer.

Orn Hing, the lawyer representing 7NG, said that the offer

was generous as the families were never enlisted as eligible for

compensation.

“Those 13 families didn’t own houses in Dey Krahorm and their names weren’t on the list,” he said during the hearing on Friday.

Lor Kemghech, a lawyer representing one of the families, said that he would consult his clients over a possible appeal to the Supreme Court. “I think this is unjust for my clients,” he said.

The eviction of the Dey Krahorm community in Chamkar Mon district in January five years ago was one of the most violent land evictions in Phnom Penh’s recent history.

Excavators tore down houses while security guards and military police used tear gas, a fire hose and metal batons to drive away the families that had remained on the 3.6 hectare plot of land.

The 7NG Group said that it had planned a large real estate project in the area, but has not started any construction in the past five years.

Initially, the families were provided housing in Choam Chao, but after a year, only former house owners were allowed to stay.

Families who had previously rented homes in Dey Krahorm were evicted again to an empty plot of land in Kandal province’s Ponhea Leu district, but the majority have since moved back to Phnom Penh as the site lacked water, sanitation, electricity, health centers and schools.

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