Courts Move Ahead With Political Lawsuits

The Municipal Court moved ahead on a recent slew of lawsuits among the nation’s leaders Thurs­day, summoning the defendants in two of three defamation cases filed by Funcinpec.

Funcinpec officials filed the lawsuits over accusations that Prince Norodom Ranariddh accepted bribes to join the new coalition.

Cambodian Center for Human Rights Director Kem Sokha, who has been accused of defamation for claiming that Prince Norodom Ranariddh accepted an airplane from the CPP, said that he was asked to appear in court on Sept 15 to clarify his position.

“I used the words to suggest that Prince Norodom Ranariddh might have accepted a plane to join the government. I did not accuse him,” Kem Sokha said.

He also said he had documents in­dicating that Prime Minister Hun Sen presented an airplane to the prince during negotiations over the government deadlock.

Chea Poch, Sam Rainsy Party par­liamentarian for Prey Veng pro­­vince, was summoned to court on Sept 14. He is also being sued for accusing Prince Ra­nar­iddh of accepting the airplane, as well as $30 million.

Chea Poch said that he made the accusation based on reports from local newspapers and other documents.

The third defamation case has been brought against Sam Rain­sy, although he is yet to be sum­moned.

Funcinpec lawyer Liv Sovanna said the royalist party is seeking $25,000 in each of the cases. “What they have said defamed the party and Prince Norodom Ran­a-riddh’s reputation and also confused the people,” he said.

Liv Sovanna said it was difficult for the party to explain the accusations through the media. “Only the court can find justice for us,” he said.

In an unrelated lawsuit, Sam Rainsy’s lawyer Som Chandina said he would launch a case at Mu­nicipal Court today accusing Prince Ranariddh and Hun Sen of plotting to kill Sam Rainsy.

Som Chandina added that he is still putting together another lawsuit suing Prince Ranariddh for alleged corruption in the construction of the new National Assembly building.

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