Phnom Penh (FN), August 14 – Self-exiled opposition party leader Sam Rainsy said in a post on his Facebook earlier today August 14, 2016 he agreed to answer to court questioning on August 19, 2016 but it will  have to be conducted online and that is via a teleconference.

“I agree to provide the court with the reasons and explanations for which I believe Hun Sen government is behind all the killings. I would accept to communicate with the court via Internet and that is via a teleconference just like what the Khmer Rouge tribunal has done recently with a number of witnesses who were not in Cambodia,” Mr. Rainsy wrote in his Facebook page.

However, immediately after Mr. Rainsy’s Facebook post, this afternoon, the prosecutor office at Phnom Penh Municipal Court said the court will object to the suggestion by Mr. Rainsy to answer to the court questioning via Internet on August 19, 2016 over his accusation that the government was behind the assassination of Mr. Kem Ley, according to Mr. Ly Sophanna, spokesman of Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

“We will not accept the request by the suspect Sam Rainsy over a hearing of his answering to the court questioning on August 19, 2016 via Internet/teleconference for the reason that Mr. Sam Rainsy is a suspect and not a witness. And a suspect shall appear and answer to the court in the presence of the prosecutor at the date set in the court summons in accordance with the procedures in the Criminal Procedure Code,” said Mr. Ly Sophanna.

“The Khmer Rouge tribunal used online teleconference as an approach just for witnesses and it was an exceptional measure that cannot be applied to suspects, accused or persons who get charged. According to the law, it is about evidence and not about what a person believes and the suspect can provide proof or evidence to defend him/herself or via his/her lawyer,” Ly Sophanna explained.

On August 4, 2016, Ky Tech, lawyer for Prime Minister Hun Sen lodged a legal complaint against Mr. Sam Rainsy and Ms. Thak Lany, a senator from the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, for accusing the government and Prime Minister Hun Sen of masterminding the assassination of political commentator Kem Ley.