A coalition of local NGOs released a statement Wednesday urging the Appeals Court to expedite its review of a case that freed a village chief convicted of unintentionally killing a 16-year-old girl.
The statement follows recent charges made by the victim’s father against the trial’s presiding judge and the defendant’s lawyer.
Chan Mony, father of Khoun Dina, the girl who was shot at the Chhup rubber plantation in August, submitted an appeal on Sept 30 at the Kompong Cham provincial court against the ruling that released Ngoun Oun on a five-year probationary period.
The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, a coalition of 17 NGOs, pressed the Appeals Court to look into the ruling Wednesday, citing a biased judge and an inappropriate sentence.
Soon after filing the appeal, Chan Mony claimed in a letter to the chairman of the Supreme Council of Magistracy that the $3,000 he received as compensation for his daughter’s death was used by Judge Tith Sothy as a payment to ensure his cooperation in court.
The letter goes on to list grievances against Tith Sothy’s conduct at the trial, which include refusing to examine the official autopsy report, denying the plaintiff witnesses and lending the defendant’s testimony undue weight.
Horng Iv, administration office official at the Supreme Council of Magistracy, said he had forwarded the complaint to the director of the Discipline Council.
A second letter, addressed to the director of the Bar Association, urged action against the defendant’s lawyer, Kea Eau, accusing him of knowingly providing the court with false witnesses.
Chan Mony wrote that three witnesses testified Ngoun Oun was with them at the time of the shooting, while the defendant himself admitted that he killed the girl.
Saku Akmeenana, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said Tuesday it was following the case closely. “The office intends to draw the case to the attention of the Supreme Council of Magistracy, in light of allegations of grave irregularities in the investigation and conduct of the trial.”
(Additional reporting by Phann Ana and Van Roeun)