Manekseka Sangkum: If you ever wonder as to what or how a totalitarian system of command behaves, this is how.
Khom Chandaraty, the alleged mistress of CNRP deputy leader Kem Sokha, leaves Phnom Penh Municipal Court after questioning last month. Pha Lina
BREAKING: Ministry calls for lawmakers' immunity to be stripped over 'prostitution'
Fri, 1 July 2016
Chhay Channyda and Mech Dara
The Ministry of Justice has formally requested that the National Assembly strip the immunity of two opposition lawmakers swept up in the ongoing Kem Sokha prosecution so they can face charges related to prostitution.
In a letter dated June 30, Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana refers to a request made to him the day before by Phnom Penh Municipal Court in asking Assembly President Heng Samrin to lift the immunity of Cambodia National Rescue Party parliamentarians Pin Ratana and Tok Vanchan.
The request cites article 80 of the constitution and article 8 of the statute governing lawmakers.
The move is a rarity in that a string of recent opposition lawmaker arrests warrants have sidestepped the need to lift immunity altogether by citing a loophole in the constitution under which prosecutions can proceed if the targets were caught “in flagrante delicto” or “in the act.”
Ratana and Vanchan, lawmakers for Kandal and Battambang, respectively, are “suspects in the penal case dated March 18, 2016, [related to] ‘prostitution’ under article 284 of the penal code,” the minister’s letter states.
“Based on the request of Phnom Penh Municipal Court prosecutors and in order for the court to be able to continue implementing the law following existing procedure and to strengthen Cambodia’s rule of law, the Ministry of Justice would like to request Samdech Ponhea Chakrey, president of the National Assembly, to please check and continue the procedure to lift the immunity of lawmakers Tok Vanchan and Pin Ratana.”