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Cambodia: UN envoy calls sentences for labour leader’s murder ‘grave injustice’

Cambodia: UN envoy calls sentences for labour leader’s murder ‘grave injustice’

The United Nations human rights envoy for Cambodia has expressed deep regret over yesterday’s decision by an Appeal Court to uphold the conviction of two men for the murder of a union leader, describing it as a “grave injustice” that underlines “continuing impunity” in the country.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court in 2005 sentenced Born Samnang and Sok Sam Ouen to 20 years imprisonment for the murder of trade union leader Chea Vichea, but Special Representative of the Secretary-General for human rights in Cambodia Yash Gai said the prosecution had failed to present credible evidence linking the two men to the murder, adding also that the trial had violated international human rights standards.

“The upholding of the conviction against Born Samnang and Sok Sam Ouen, despite fresh witness statements and other strong exculpatory evidence, along with the failure to observe minimum guarantees for fair trial throughout the process, is a grave injustice and underlines already existing concerns about judicial independence, the rule of law and continuing impunity in Cambodia,” Mr. Gai said in a statement on Thursday

He also reiterated his calls for a thorough, impartial and credible investigation into the murder and for the prosecution of those responsible.