Lawyers Ask Feuding Men To Hold Election

Dozens of Cambodian lawyers have called on the two men vying for the Cambodian Bar Association presidency to end their dispute and hold a new election so the association can continue working.

In a petition released Monday, 24 lawyers demanded that president-elect Suon Visal and incumbent Ky Tech hand temporary control of the association to the oldest council member, Sa Sovan, until a new election is held.

In addition, they demanded that all court cases launched by the men relating to the dispute be dropped immediately.

“The two presidents, please stay outside the management of the Bar temporarily,” lawyer Kao Sou­pha said at a news conference Mon­day. “And both sides of the dis­pute should end their court cases.”

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court charged Suon Visal with for­gery on June 30 for using the association’s stamp and reprinting the association’s stationary with himself named as president.

Ky Tech has maintained possession of the stamp since he lost an Oct 16 presidential election to Suon Visal. The incumbent challenged the election results and the Appeals Court ruled in his favor in a closed-door meeting on Nov 19.

But Suon Visal appealed that de­cision to the Supreme Court, which ruled June 2 that the Ap­peals Court decision was in­va­lid. The case has been sent back to the Ap­peals Court.

The dispute has left several aid organizations unsure whe­ther they will be able to start new projects with the association.

Suon Visal applauded the law­yers’ demands.

“I agree 100 percent with all the points,” he said. “This idea can ab­solutely solve the problem.”

Ky Tech said he would accept the proposal to hold an election but could not drop the charge be­cause it is a criminal case. He al­so said he would not agree to ap­point Sa Sovan as temporary lea­der.

“I agree 100 percent with the new election,” he said. “But I cannot withdraw the complaint for the criminal case.”

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