Civil society to monitor Mu Sochua’s trial

Friday, July 24, 2009

By Kim Pov
Radio Free Asia
Translated from Khmer by Chao Chet

Several civil society officials will monitor the 24 July 2009 hearing of the lawsuit brought up by Hun Sen against SRP MP Mu Sochua.

Several officials from human right groups and civil society organizations in Cambodia plan to monitor the trial brought up by Cambodia’s top politician Hun Sen against Mrs. Mu Sochua. In this lawsuit, Hun Sen accused Mu Sochua of defamation, and the latter will show up in court by herself without the representation of any legal defense lawyer.

Rong Chhun, President of the Cambodia Independent Teachers’ Association (CITA), said that he is concerned about this case because he is worried that the court will not provide justice for Mrs. Mu Sochua. “We are concerned about any injustice that affects the people, whether it is Mrs. Mu Sochua or not,” Rong Chhun said.

Chan Saveth, an official of the Adhoc human rights group, added that there will be several human rights monitors present during the trial day, and he hopes that the county will provide a fair trial. “Because the law is the law for all, and lawsuits constitute the freedom for all in the use of the rule of law,” Chan Saveth said.

Opposition MP Mu Sochua claimed that she will show up by herself to clarify the court hearing in this lawsuit, following an unsuccessful last minute intensive search for a defense lawyer, after Kong Sam Onn, her former lawyer, decided to drop her defense because Hun Sen’s lawyer sued him.

Sok Sam Oeun, the director of the Legal Defense Group in Cambodia, declared that there are several cases in the world where the defendant refuses to have a defense lawyer representation, but in these cases, the defendants are provided the same rights as those of a lawyer. However, in the case of Cambodia, Sok Sam Oeun said that he is concerned that the court will not provide proper rights to Mu Sochua, as is usually done in other countries.

Sok Sam Oeun commented that in the case of Mu Sochua where no lawyers are willing to defend her, this situation shows that there is no safety for the legal community in Cambodia. “This means that there is no safety for the legal community in Cambodia,” Sok Sam Oeun said.

In the past, Mrs. Mu Sochua tried to sue Hun Sen for defaming her, after Hun Sen said without naming her directly that there is a “Cheung Khlang” (Strong foot, equivalent to “thug”) in Kampot who tore her blouse by herself, and she went to hug someone else, then she turned around and accused the other person of unbuttoning her blouse. Hun Sen also called her: “This woman is a thick-skinned woman”.

In her attempt to sue Hun Sen, the latter turned around and sued her back for defamation because he said that he did not name her.

Mrs. Mu Sochua’s lawsuit was dropped by the court which claimed that there is no proof to her case, however, the court still considers Hun Sen’s lawsuit against her, and the National Assembly [controlled by the CPP] voted to lift her parliamentary immunity on 02 June.


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