Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday summoned former opposition leader Sam Rainsy to appear at the court in May after he was accused of agreeing to cede four northeastern provinces to Vietnam’s Montagnards if he won the 2013 election.
The summons came after the Interior Ministry’s Counter-Terrorism Department last week field a lawsuit accusing Mr Rainsy of treason for colluding to cede territory to foreigners.
The lawsuit was filed after Prime Minister Hun Sen on March 14 ordered an investigation into treason accusations against Mr Rainsy.
The case stemmed from a leaked video on Facebook within a post that included documents dated April, 12, 2013 and bearing the signatures of Mr Rainsy and that of Kok Ksor, head of a Montagnard association in the United States.
Montagnard is a French term referring to a Vietnamese hill tribe, also known as Degar, most of whom are from Christian ethnic minority groups residing in the Vietnam Central Highlands.
“Those people who themselves are Degar people, they are part of the Cambodian nation,” Mr Rainsy said in the video. “They live in Mondulkiri, Ratanakkiri, Stung Treng and Kratie provinces.”
“When we establish a new government, we will ensure that Mongtagnards, the Degar people, will live as free citizens in Cambodia,” he said. “Their lands, their forests, their mountains will be returned to them.”
The warrant signed yesterday by deputy prosecutor Sieng Sok summoned Mr Rainsy to appear at the court on May 7 “to clarify the case of signing an agreement dated on April, 14, 2013 with Kok Ksor regarding the cession of four provinces to indigenous Degar”.
Mr Sok could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Police officers brought the warrant yesterday to Mr Rainsy’s home in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district.
But Mr Rainsy has lived in exile since 2015 after being hit with slew of court cases, including by Mr Hun Sen who accused him of defamation.
San Chey, executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability Cambodia, said complaints against Mr Rainsy were not uncommon.