Six Months After Shooting Death, Investigation Continues

Six months after a 22-year-old man was allegedly shot and killed by a deputy commune police chief in Kompong Cham province, the case has yet to be handed over to an investigating judge and no charges have been filed, a rights group said yesterday.

The officer that allegedly pulled the trigger is also still in uniform, said Phoung Sothea, an investigator with rights group Adhoc.

“The prosecutor is late to take action on the case,” he said. “It seems like the prosecutor is ignoring the case, not sending it to the investigating judge.”

Horm Vanda was allegedly shot and killed by deputy Trapaing Phlong commune police chief Sok Ry on April 16 in Kompong Cham’s Ponhea Krek district after fleeing police, who believed Mr Vanda had snatched someone’s necklace.

Police say the shooting was accidental, though relatives of Mr Vanda are dubious.

Mr Sothea said Mr Vanda’s family filed a complaint with the provincial prosecutor on April 19. The complaint has yet to leave the prosecutor’s office, Mr Sothea said yesterday.

Provincial prosecutor Hout Vuthy said yesterday that he was still investigating the case, though he declined to say why the six-month-old case had not been given to an investigating judge.

Keo Noraphy, deputy district police chief, said Mr Ry intended to fire a warning shot into the air, but accidentally shot Mr Vanda when the 22-year-old lunged for the officer’s gun.

“The deputy commune chief just attempted to fire in the air in order to scare the suspect, but the suspect jumped at the policeman in order to snatch his gun, which accidentally fired,” Mr Noraphy said. “However, it’s the duty of the court to make a decision on this case.”

Mr Sothea said the victim’s family found two additional bullet holes on Mr Vanda’s chest. According to Mr Sothea, police rejected the photo, saying the picture was doctored by the family.

“This is injustice to the victim,” Mr Sothea said. “It shows there is no equality in front of the law.”


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