The defeated incumbent president of the Cambodian Bar Association issued a public challenge last week to the legitimacy of the victor’s recent efforts to lead the association, hinting that the president-elect could face further legal wrangling if he loses his court battle for the office.
A letter dated Thursday and stamped with defeated incumbent Ky Tech’s official presidential seal was posted on the front gate of the bar association’s Daun Penh district office that night.
The bar association “was violated by a handful of lawyers led by Suon Visal, who claims to be the bar’s president,” the letter stated, referencing an administrative meeting of bar staff that Suon Visal presided over last week.
The letter likened the meeting to “the destruction of the bar’s interests and professionalism” and instructed all lawyers following Suon Visal’s leadership to cease immediately.
Suon Visal also held a second meeting Friday morning to discuss the bar’s budget, Ky Tech said later that day.
Holding the meetings was improper since the Appeals Court is reviewing a complaint lodged against the results of the bar’s
Oct 16 presidential election, Ky Tech said Friday.
In addition, he said, the court could also order Suon Visal to repay the money he ordered spent during the dispute should he lose the appeal.
Asked what he would do if Suon Visal continued to conduct the meetings, Ky Tech said, “I cannot use force—yet.”
Suon Visal said Friday he would not stop calling the meetings, saying that the approval of the 19 bar council members was enough to validate his administration. Fourteen members turned out last week.
He said he was not worried about Ky Tech’s threats to hold him responsible for money spent during the transition period, as he was only presiding over the council’s deliberations.
“The meeting and the decisions of the meeting were not made by me, they were made by the council members,” he said.