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On 18 May, a Thailand appellate court today dismissed an appeal by Mitr Phol Company Limited to reject a complaint filed on behalf of Cambodian plaintiffs affected by forced evictions and land grabbing that took place in Cambodia a decade ago. The motion asked the court to review the plaintiff’s legal arguments.

A file photo of sugarcane field. (Source: Pixabay)

Sor. Rattanamanee Polkla and Tittasat Sudsan, lawyers for the plaintiffs, came to the Bangkok South Civil Court to hear the Mitr Phol appeal. The Court sustained an earlier decision to dismiss Mitr Phol’s appeal.

It also called for the trial to proceed and scheduled a hearing for 21 September 2022 at 09.00.

Tittasat Sudsan applauded the decision.  The legal analysis under review pertained to statutes of limitations, three years under Cambodian law and one year under Thai regulations. The decision opens the way for the next step in the proceedings: gathering relevant evidence in the investigation and hearing testimony.

The case is something of a landmark - the first transboundary class action case heard in Thailand.

On July 31, 2020 a Thai Appeal Court ruled that 700 Cambodian families could move ahead with a class action lawsuit against Thai sugar giant Mitr Phol. The suit demands appropriate compensation and remediation from the company. Plaintiffs claim that their homes were burnt down and that the company appropriated community lands and forest.

The case arose in Oddar Meanchey Province of Cambodia, where Mitr Phol invested in sugar cane plantations. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit said that their homes and livelihoods were destroyed by the company. 

Mitr Phol is a member of Bonsucro – a global platform that promotes sustainable sugarcane production, processing, and trading. As a member, Mitr Phol is obliged to uphold environmental and social sustainability standards across its supply chain. The lawsuit underscores the importance of industry best practices for supply chains and reminds us why companies like Mitr Phol that invest in sugar cane plantations and processing must comply with them.

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