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Investigative judge ends probe into Rainsy criminal cases

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This year, Rainsy again appealed to the military not to kill innocent people and disobey the orders of Hun Sen. Heng Chivoan

Investigative judge ends probe into Rainsy criminal cases

The investigating judge at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court has closed the probe into two criminal cases against Sam Rainy, the “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).

The cases were in relation to claims of inciting the military not to obey orders and insulting the King.

Documents obtained by The Post on Monday, which were posted on the gates of the CNRP headquarters the same day but dated January 28 and 29, said Investigating Judge Ham Mengse had closed the investigations against Rainsy.

The documents mentioned nothing further.

Rainsy, a former president of the CNRP, on December 5, 2017, used Facebook to appeal to the military not to follow the orders of Prime Minister Hun Sen, whom he referred to as a “dictator”.

“Please the military, soldiers and police! Don’t obey the orders from the dictator if [he] orders to open fire and kill innocent people,” Rainsy said.

Lawyers representing the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) filed a lawsuit at the municipal court against Rainsy over the statement, with the court charging him on two counts, including inciting military personnel to disobedience (Article 471) and demoralising the army (Article 473), with each one carrying between two and five years in prison and a fine.

In another case, Rainsy stated on June 6, 7 and 10 last year that a letter from the King appealing for people to vote in last year’s national elections “without fear of oppression, threat or intimidation from anyone or any political party” was fake or made under duress.

In response, the Ministry of Justice ordered the courts to take action.

Rainsy based his claim on the fact that he wrote to the King on May 23. However, the King’s letter, released on June 5, was dated May 18, five days before Rainsy’s. This, Rainsy argued, showed that the letter’s date had been altered.

Insulting the King, according to the amended Article 437, carries a prison term of between one and five years, and a fine of between 10 and 50 million riel ($2,500-$12,500).

Sam Sokong, Rainsy’s lawyer, on Monday said he hadn’t received the documents regarding the cases.

Vong Pheakdey, a lawyer representing the RCAF, said he also hadn’t received the documents.

“According to procedures, the investigating judge should return the case to the prosecutor for final submission. If [the prosecutor] finds it was a crime, he will send the case back to the judge and the case would then be sent for a hearing, with a judge assigned,” he said.

This year, Rainsy again appealed to the military not to kill innocent people and disobey the orders of Hun Sen, who he claimed is an illegitimate prime minister.

Lawyer Pheakdey said additional claims would probably be added to an existing case by the prosecutor, who was the complainant in the criminal case.

“The court could find more evidence. [Rainsy] made the [statement] in public, so the prosecutor could look at that. Adding further burden in a case is the responsibility of the prosecutor,” Pheakdey said.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court spokesperson Y Rin said the case was now at the stage as detailed in Article 246 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

This means it should take a month for the prosecutor to return the case to the investigating judge for final submission.

The final paragraph of the procedure states: “If the prosecutor is of the same view as the investigating judge, which is that the case is closed, the prosecutor will make a final submission in writing.

“The prosecutor can file a complaint to the investigating judge to send the charged person to a hearing or drop the charge.”