Police in the provinces of Pursat and Kandal have accused the provincial courts of dragging their feet in issuing arrest warrants for suspects in two separate rape and murder cases.
Yors Theary, a 19-year-old deaf woman, was raped and then murdered May 13 in a forest near her home in Pursat’s Veal Veng district.
“Police sent the criminal report to the court a week after the crime and now are waiting for the arrest warrant,” deputy provincial penal police chief Ros Bunnan said yesterday.
“It takes a long time to get an arrest warrant, which gives the suspect a chance to flee and ability to commit other crimes and creates insecurity for other residents,” he added. Mr Bunnan declined to name the 36-year-old suspect, but claimed he had already fled the province.
Puong Tong, the district police chief, said police have no legal authority to arrest the man without a warrant but believe they know the suspect’s whereabouts.
Pursat Provincial Court Prosecutor Ouk Chansereivuth said his office had done everything it could to get an arrest warrant issued. However, he did not know when Judge Nheam Sovan, the judged in charge of the case, would issue an arrest warrant or the reason behind the warrant not being issued already.
Judge Sovan could not be reached for comment, while provincial court director Thong Ol said he was not familiar with the case.
In a similar case in Kandal province, no arrest warrant has yet been issued for a man suspected in the April 4 rape and strangulation of 17-year-old Phorn Kemly, said Ros Savin, police chief of the provincial anti-human trafficking bureau. Mr Savin said police submitted a report to the Kandal Provincial Court Prosecutor Ouk Kimseth late last month.
“It is going too slowly,” he said, adding that he would check with the court about the case this week.
Chhiev Rendy, head clerk at the Kandal Provincial Court prosecutor’s office, said that the court is not ready to move on the case as the prosecutor is still reviewing it.
Nget Theavy, Pursat provincial coordinator for local rights group Adhoc, said despite some improvement by police in rape and murder investigations, they often encounter a court system that moves far too slowly.
“Delays in issuing arrest warrants is a chance for the suspects to be free and commit other crimes,” he said.
The Pursat and Kandal rape and murder cases are just two out of the 12 rapes and murders of women and children that the Cambodia Daily has reported on so far this year.