Briefs: Families Still Waiting for Baby-Formula Compensation, Sokha Trial Delayed

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Consumer protection officers inspect a can of Nutrilatt in Poipet in September 2020. (Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud department)

Parents who won a lawsuit against a baby formula company in April are still waiting for the final court verdict to claim punitive damages awarded to them.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on April 1 ruled in favor of plaintiffs and awarded them between $10,000 and $20,000 in damages. The plaintiffs had alleged that Nutrilatt baby formula had made their children sick and malnourished.

Chea Sokuntheary, one of the plaintiffs from Takeo province, said it had been four months since the verdict but the court had failed to issue a document with the final verdict.

“[I] ask the court to solve it as soon as possible and don’t want the court to delay,” she said.

Sokuntheary said her baby was using Nutrilatt for around eight months and had health issues, such as being very pale.

Pon Pechvatta, another mother involved in the case, said the accused was still on bail because the verdict had not been implemented.

Soeng Senkaruna, a spokesperson for rights group Adhoc, said that if the court was delaying releasing the document, the parents could complain to the Ministry of Justice or the Supreme Council of Magistracy.

The court found Khon Keokesey, a director at Nutrilatt, guilty on April 1 and sentenced him to 10 months in prison and a fine of around $2,000, and ordered him to pay damages to the affected families. Tim Sovannara, an executive director at Nutrilatt, declined to comment and said he was busy.

— Nat Sopheap

Kem Sokha’s Court Hearing Delayed

A defense lawyer for Kem Sokha asked for a delay in the trial after they came in contact with a suspected Covid-19 case last week.

The treason trial of Kem Sokha was expected to have its 51st hearing on Wednesday but was delayed after a defense lawyer had contact with a potential Covid-19 case. The lawyers asked for a delay in a letter to the court and the trial will likely resume next week.

Kem Sokha is being tried for allegedly fomenting a color revolution to overthrow the government with the help of foreign powers. The trial has been ongoing since 2020 and was delayed during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic in Cambodia.

Covid-19 cases have been steadily rising in Cambodia, with the Health Ministry reporting around 250 cases in the past week.

—Morm Moniroth

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