Lawyers Will Ask King to Punish Judges

Lawyers from the Cambodian Bar Association will file complaints to­day with King Norodom Siha­moni and the Supreme Council of Ma­­gis­tracy asking that three Ap­peals Court judges be punished for overturning the presidential elec­tion vic­tory of legal aid lawyer Suon Vi­sal.

The nine lawyers are requesting that disciplinary measures be ta­ken against Justices Thou Mony, Um Sarith and Nguon Im. The three presided at a Nov 19 Appeals Court hearing that overturned the Oct 16 election result and returned defeated incumbent Ky Tech to the presidency while a new election is organized.

The lawyers charge that the judges “have openly and in­ten­tionally violated the code of conduct of practice and professionalism in a way that has seriously af­fected the government policy of ju­di­cial reform,” according to a draft copy of the complaint.

The reported violations include holding the hearing behind closed doors and failing to notify participants in a timely matter, according to the complaint. The lawyers also claim that the decision to overturn the election is legally groundless.

Some of the lawyers signing the complaint are among the majority of the 19-member Bar Council, the association’s governing body, which has publicly thrown its support behind Suon Visal. On Tues­day, Suon Visal said he supported the complaint. The judges “violate[d] many rules [in the Nov 19 hearing], so they should have action taken against them,” he said. The Su­preme Court has not scheduled a hearing for his appeal, he added.

Ky Tech declined to comment when reached by telephone Tues­day.

Royal adviser Prince Sisowath Thomico said he believed it would be inappropriate for the King, who is also the president of the Su­preme Council of Magistracy, to in­tervene in the matter.

“I think that in this case, [the courts] should not be involved in any way, because it is just an internal dispute,” he said Tuesday. “If the court should not be involved, the King should not be involved.”

 

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