19 August 2009


A longer wait for justice

Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun appeared on Monday at the Appeals Court, which was under orders from the Supreme Court to re-open the case.

And re-open the case it did. The judge ordered further investigations. While he did not clear Samnang and Sam Oeun of the murder of Chea Vichea, he said they should feel like "free men that can enjoy all their rights."

An observer at the hearing writes:
We're left with mixed feelings. On one hand, everyone's happy they were not sent to back to jail but realistically that wasn't going to happen. On the other hand, it's now five and half years, and the prosecution has failed to build a case against the two; in any decent country, their charges would have been removed.

It appears the appeals court had to open such a hearing to fulfill the order to re-investigate. If this is true, then I guess the re-investigation will last for roughly a century.

The Cambodian authorities are in a trap of their own making.

Under international pressure, they convicted two innocent men, as we show in Who Killed Chea Vichea?.

Again under international pressure, they freed those two men (conditionally anyway).

In theory, what should happen now is a real investigation to find the actual killers -- exactly what they tried to avoid by framing Samnang and Sam Oeun five and a half years ago. The fact that the court didn't exonerate them puts an end to any hope of that, if there ever was a hope.

News articles:
Phnom Penh Post (English)
Cambodge Soir (French)
Deutsche Presse Agentur (English)



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