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NEC, Sam Rainsy to face off in court over duelling complaints

NEC, Sam Rainsy to face off in court over duelling complaints

Both sides say they will pursue legal action in Phnom Penh Municipal Court over actions stemming from July's national elections

A LEGAL complaint to be filed against opposition leader Sam Rainsy by the National Election Committee (NEC) seeking fines for insults made against Cambodian People's Party leaders while on the campaign trail has sparked a counter-suit by the outspoken government critic.

Sam Rainsy told journalists on Tuesday he was not concerned about the NEC suit, which he dismissed as "nothing important", and said he was preparing to file his own complaint against the committee for allowing commune chiefs to issue counterfeit 10-18 voter forms during July's elections.

"I will be filing a complaint about the NEC ... providing counterfeit forms to people who had no right to vote," he told reporters. "This is counterfeiting, and penal law states that counterfeiters must be jailed.

"The NEC complaint against me is a small story. Paying a few thousand dollars in fines is not important, but for their criminal counterfeiting of documents, [NEC Director] Im Suosdey and [NEC Secretary General] Tep Nitha should be in jail," he said.

Tep Nitha said he was not concerned about the SRP complaint, adding that the complaint against Sam Rainsy was being prepared for submission to Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

"We must lodge a complaint against him. The Constitutional Council has already decided that our actions are in accordance with the law, and we will formally submit the complaint some time next week," he said.

"The SRP has the right to lodge their complaint, but we are not worried because we have not faked any forms. The NEC and commune chiefs have done nothing illegal," he said.

Puthea Hang, executive director of the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia, said both sides have a right to take legal action but that they must both be held to the same legal standard.

He said both parties face reasonable complaints, as the SRP insulted fellow politicians and the NEC was responsible for irregularities in the elections.

"Both [complaints] must be decided by the law, and both [parties] must be under the law," Puthea Hang said.

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