As opposition leader Kem Sokha’s treason trial enters its third week, observers and political analysts say even the commencement of the trial, setting aside questions about the charges, signals a further deterioration in Cambodia’s more than two-year long democratic backslide.
The trial for Kem Sokha commenced on January 15, with a senior court official confirming that the trial would take at least three months to conclude. This time frame takes the trail well past the European Commission’s February 12 deadline to issue its final findings on whether to suspend Cambodia’s access to trade privileges.
The trial has already seen its fair share of criticism with opposition supporters calling it’s a show trial and ruling party officials, saying it was part of the judicial process. Additionally, the court prevented independent journalists and NGOs from entering the trial for the first week, despite accounts from attendees suggesting there were vacant seats in court.