Former CNRP lawmaker Ou Chanrath confirmed yesterday that he would file an individual complaint to the Supreme Court to have his political rights reinstated after he was banned from politics for five years following the opposition party’s dissolution.
In November, the Supreme Court dissolved the CNRP and banned 118 senior members from politics for five years, in the wake of former party leader Kem Sokha’s arrest on treason charges.
Mr Chanrath has twice filed a complaint to have the case in relation to the party’s dissolution reheard, both of which were dismissed.
He now plans to file a complaint to have just his rights reinstated, he said.
“I will file a complaint again, but this time to focus on the political rights of a single individual,” he said. “I have given up on demanding a re-trial on the case of the party’s dissolution.”
“The court never summoned any of the 118 banned from politics for five years,” he added. “I never had the chance to defend myself.”
Mr Chanrath noted he plans to file the complaint by next week.
“The ban seems to affect my right to do any activity, even if the activity is not explicitly political,” he said.
Mr Chanrath said his second complaint to have the party’s case reheard was rejected on Monday.
Ouk Kimseth, deputy general prosecutor of the Supreme Court, could not be reached for comment.
Pheng Heng, a lawyer for Mr Chanrath, said his client had the right to appeal his ban.
“The decision to ban 118 people from politics was contrary to the constitution,” Mr Heng said.
Chak Sopheap, executive director of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, said the right to participate in public life is a fundamental human right and includes the right not to be discriminated against when standing for elections.
“Preventing individuals from participating in political life for the sole reason that they used to belong to a now-dissolved political party constitutes an impermissible restriction of rights and violates Cambodia’s international obligations,” Ms Sopheap said.
Government spokesman Phay Siphan said Mr Chanrath was filing the complaint to create confusion among the public prior to the general election in July.
“It will not work because the Supreme Court has implemented the law properly,” he said.