Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday delayed a hearing into a legal action in which families who say they were evicted from the Dey Krahorm community in Chamkar Mon district without compensation are seeking $195,000 in damages from the developer 7NG.
More than fifteen months after the violent eviction of hundreds of residents in a three-year land dispute, the 13 families still claim to have received nothing.
In court yesterday, a 7NG representative said that these families had already been given land, Judge Suon Samnang said. The case was delayed to allow 7NG time to provide land allocation records, he said.
“I did not question the representatives because the 7NG company requested the court to wait for them to find the families’ names on the list,” Judge Samnang said.
The thirteen families are demanding $15,000 each from 7NG, which has given them nothing, according to their lawyer Te Chamnan. “Today the judge still did not question me because the 7NG company requested the judge to check their list,” he said, adding that the case was delayed until May 24.
Chan Vichet, a former Dey Krahorm community representative, said that after the eviction, some families were not relocated to Dangkao district’s Choam Chao commune with the rest. In December, those in Dangkao district were moved to a barren settlement in Kandal’s Phnom Bat commune.
“Still now more than twenty families have not received compensation…. They just rent houses in Phnom Penh,” said Sia Phearum, director of the Housing Rights Task Force secretariat.
7NG spokesman Chheang Bona and deputy Phnom Penh governor Mann Chhoeun declined to comment yesterday.
Mathieu Pellerin, a consultant at human rights group Licadho, said that he knew of very few evictees who had launched civil actions. Although Licadho was aware of a few dozen families who had not been compensated, the total number was difficult to calculate, Mr Pellerin said.
“There were several years of long campaigns of intimidation, scare tactics…. Many along the way ended up with nothing,” he said.