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.”