Evidence unclear: Court finds documents ambiguous

Source: www.PhnomPenhPost.com, Tue, 6 January 2015,

A Phnom Penh Municipal Court judge postponed a hearing for a years-long land dispute in court yesterday when the plaintiff, who did not attend proceedings, failed to show convincing documentation of ownership.

Four representatives of Boeung Chhouk village, located in the Kilometre 6 commune of Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district, were accused of illegally occupying property allegedly belonging to Lao Tonmey, in a feud that dates back to 2009.

However, in Tonmey’s absence, presiding judge Tob Chhun Heng found irregularities in the 1999 land transfer document submitted to court, which was also used to authorise Tonmey’s 2009 destruction of six homes in the village.

“That year [2009], the authorities started to pull down and destroy six houses in our community,” defendant Khiev Chenda said.

While Tonmey claimed the document granted him ownership to the property, judge Chhun Heng said it appeared to actually grant him part of a lake. Deputy prosecutor Om Sopheak has asked for a delay in the case in order to clarify the document’s veracity with Tonmey and local authorities.

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