Monday, 07 March 2011 15:02 Tep Nimol
Ratanakkiri provincial court issued a summons for three ethnic Tumpoun minority residents of Bakeo district’s Paor village, to appear at a hearing related to a private company’s accusations that they had illegally seized 100 hectares of their land.
The summons was sent on Wednesday to Long Lorn, a lawyer for local rights group Adhoc, which represents the codefendants Rorch Phoen, Horn Ror and Kvas Ti, requesting their presence in a civil case in provincial court on March 22, which Long Lorn confirmed they would attend.
“We will prepare some documents and witnesses to explain [our position] in court,” he said.
Horn Ror, a representative for the Tumpoun ethnic villagers in Paor village, said yesterday that although the case is in dispute, the Ly Sokim Company continues to clear villager’s cashew plantations and hopes the upcoming hearing will act as “a positive sign” in finding justice for the villagers, whose land he claimed the company has encroached on since 2007.
It is not known what the company intends to do with the land concession it purchased in 2007 in the Loe Horn village of Keh Chung commune, eight kilometres from Paor village.
Yet in March of last year, the company filed a complaint to the court that more than 100 hectares of land they had bought from Loe Horn villagers was occupied by Paor villagers developing cashew
“The company bought over 100 hectares from Loe Horn villagers, but it got confused about the land and [cleared land] in Paor village, filing a complaint against the villagers for growing plantations,” Horn Ror said.
Pen Bonnar, provincial coordinator for Adhoc, said yesterday that research into the disputed land shows that it is under the control of the Paor village, which authorities have legally recognised.
“The representing company bought land legally but the letter is contrary to the law because this is the community’s land and no one has the right to buy or sell it,” he said.
The Ly Sokim Company could not be reached for comment.