Kem Sokha’s Trial: The Dynamics Beyond the Courtroom

As developments in the trial continue, it is important to keep in mind that it will be largely shaped by events that occur outside the courtroom.

Kem Sokha’s long awaited and much decried treason trial began in Phnom Penh last week with developments continuing to shape up on various fronts. But the most significant developments happened outside of the courtroom.

Sokha, president of Cambodia’s main opposition party, was arrested in 2017 on spurious charges of trying to overthrow the government with U.S. support. His party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party, was subsequently dissolved, turning Cambodia into a de facto one-party state.

Sokha served one year in prison and another under house arrest before his release on bail. Shortly before the trial began, it was revealed that it will last around three months, with hearings twice a week. Space for independent observers will be severely limited.

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