Kandal Provincial Court Left in the Dark After Failing to Pay Bill

Electricite du Cambodoge (EdC), Cambodia’s electricity distributor, cut off power to the Kandal Provincial Court this week for failing to pay its electricity bill, court officials said.

“The reason [that the power was cut off] was because we don’t have the money to pay for the service,” said provincial court Judge Lim Sokuntha, declining to detail the amount the court owed.

Local newspaper Kampuchea Thmey Daily reported on Thursday that the outstanding bill totaled about 100 million riel, or about $25,000, and had not been paid since January 2012.

Despite the power outage, Judge Sokuntha said that the court was still in operation and that business was proceeding as usual. “It has not affected the process of filing cases even though we have no electricity because we try cases during the day,” he said, adding that difficulties have arisen particularly in relation to the printing of documents, which have been carried out off site since the power was disconnected.

Judge Sokuntha said that he hoped to find a solution to the problem soon. “We have had a meeting on this issue and I think that maybe tomorrow we will have the electricity reconnected,” he said, declining to explain how the court plans to settle the issue.

Men Makara, provincial coordinator for local rights group Adhoc, expressed concern that the power outage would delay court procedures and obstruct the process of justice. “It will affect the interests of the accused and the victims because they will spend more time in prison as the court will take longer to process their case,” said Mr. Makara.

“It is the first time that I have heard of a court without an electrical supply and the court needs to solve this problem immediately. If they do not solve it, justice cannot reach the victim or the accused,” he added.

EdC officials could not be reached for comment.

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