Grenade Discovered at Court

A grenade found on the grounds of Kompong Chhnang’s pro­vincial court a day after a preliminary hearing there has sparked fears of increasing security breaches as the courts add more logging and land-dispute cases to their dockets.

Police said the US-made gre­nade, found on Thursday just outside the courthouse, was a “threat” against the court because Kom­pong Chhnang provincial court officials appeared to have favored the plaintiff in a logging case, prosecutor Mak Panny said Thursday.

“This was a threat from those who are not happy with the court’s decisions,” Mak Panny said, adding that the police have no suspects in the case.

One forestry monitor cautioned that more disputes over logging may occur in the future.

“What research shows is that when resources are becoming more scarce, more conflicts will arise,” Eva Galabru, head of the log­ging monitor Global Witness, said.

During the preliminary hearing on Wednesday, the court heard testimony on four logging cases involving unidentified individuals who are suspected of cutting down trees and hiding them in their homes with the alleged support of several provincial military officials. The accusations were brought by the local forestry department, Mak Panny said.

The court has so far tried more than 40 cases involving logging disputes, he said, adding that he was worried about his personal safety because he has dealt with cases involving kidnapping, rape and logging.

“It is normal that the court gets some displeasure from people because even God has some evil people harass him,” Mak Panny said. “But we try our best to give equal justice to all people.”

This is the second grenade incident involving the courts in less than a week. On Monday, an un­identified individual threw a grenade into the house of a court clerk in Kompong Thom, wounding one woman and killing a dog. Despite this, attacks against court officials have been rare, with only a handful of cases reported since 1997.

(Additional reporting by David Kihara)


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