Rights Group Concerned Over M’kiri Land Case

Human rights workers have expressed concern that Mondolkiri Provincial Court might be dragging its heels on a land dispute case involving a court staffer.

Moek Poeun, 27, filed a suit in May against court clerk Srem Lun alleging that he had taken her 300-by-50 meter plot of land in Sen Monorom district’s Romnea commune and that his sons were in­volved in burning down her home.

With nothing to indicate that the case was moving forward, Moek Poeun said Monday that she ap­pealed to the Appeal Court in Phnom Penh to help push the Mondolkiri court to move ahead with the suit. But there has still been no investigation, she said.

Sam Sarin, provincial coordinator for local rights group Adhoc, said the case has been left uninvestigated for an unusually long time.

“It has been many months al­ready, there has not been any handling” of the case, he said. “Normally, [the court] can show bias for its own staff—it cannot be avoided.”

Eam Veasna, an investigator for the rights group Vigilance in Mondolkiri, also questioned the continued delay.

Provincial court Prosecutor Im Sophan denied that the case is being stalled, saying that he has simply been too busy to start an investigation. “In Mondolkiri, there is only one prosecutor, and there are a lot of cases,” he said Tuesday.

As clerk to the court’s judges, Srem Lun said on Tuesday that he had no influence over what cases the prosecutor, who has his own clerk, investigates—including his own.

Srem Lun also defended his claim to the land, and denied any links between his sons and the burning of Moek Poeun’s home. “The house was on my land,” he said. “I don’t know about the burning.”



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