Days after the National Assembly’s bipartisan Human Rights Commission visited the site of a land dispute between families in Kompong Chhnang province and a private development firm, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday questioned two villagers over complaints they filed against the company.
“Yesterday, we questioned both parties as part of the prepared procedure for the oral argument, but the attempt at reconciliation was not fruitful,” said investigating Judge Chuon Soreasey.
Judge Soreasey said the municipal court received 21 case files from the Kompong Chhnang Provincial Court over the civil complaints filed against KDC International by the villagers, Keo Sokha and Soum Thon, but that 11 of the files were withdrawn after some of the families accepted compensation from the company in March.
The dispute currently surrounds the price of the farmland the villagers say KDC stole from them. Residents value it between $8,000 and $10,000 per hectare while the firm’s lawyer says the market price is $2,000 to $2,500 per hectare.
Over the weekend, members of the Human Rights Commission visited the contested land, and met with local authorities, but said they were not in a position to estimate its value, CNRP lawmaker Chea Poch said Wednesday.