The Supreme Court has issued a summons for the founder of the National Heart Party (NHP), Siem Phluk, ordering that he appear with legal counsel at a hearing on December 24 to resolve a complaint he filed against the Ministry of Interior for refusing to register his party.
Three separate summonses were issued by Supreme Court president Dith Munty on December 3, one each to Phluk and his lawyers Choung Choungy and Sam Sokong for the December 24 hearing.
Phluk told The Post on December 8 that he and his lawyers would attend the hearing and bring along documents related to the matter to present to the court as evidence to back up his complaint.
He expects that the hearing will have a positive outcome for his party because they had compelling arguments to present to the court and the law was on their side.
He said the only way they would lose would be if the Supreme Court decides the case based on a political agenda rather than the letter of the law.
“It all depends on the whether certain politicians intend to make this case into something political and exert their influence over the court or not. But based on the facts and the law, I have every expectation that I will prevail because the law is clearly on my side,” he stated.
Phluk said he filed the complaint with the Supreme Court on November 26 under the new Article 25 of the Amendments to the Law on Political Parties which permits all parties to petition the Supreme Court if the interior ministry rejects their registration for any reason.
Phluk’s attorney Choungy said he would also attend the hearing to represent the NHP and present its demand for relief in the form of a court order to the ministry instructing it to register the party.
He said he expects the court would consider the case on its legal merits and the outcome will be good news for the party which merely wants to fulfill its lawful role in the upcoming election and function like any other party by conducting political activities throughout the country.
“The party has documents to submit to the interior ministry and the party also has thumbprints to submit to the ministry for reference,” he said.
Supreme Court spokeswoman Mao Thida said on December 8 that judges were following standard legal procedure, but all decisions would be made at the discretion of the judges after a full hearing of the cases presented by each side.
Interior ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak could not be reached for comment on December 8. He said on November 22 that he welcomed the complaint against the ministry and that the ministry was prepared for the hearing, citing alleged irregularities with the thumbprints provided as identification on some of the registration documents.
The ministry claimed that the NHP faked some of the thumbprints it submitted to create forged identities on its documentation to increase its membership numbers. It said the party’s charter runs contrary to certain provisions of the law. Those two allegations form the basis for the rejection of the party’s registration, it noted.