Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodia's UN mission declares rapporteurs' findings one-sided

Cambodia's UN mission declares rapporteurs' findings one-sided

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
An Sokkhoeurn, Cambodian ambassador and permanent representative to the UN Office in Geneva. SUPPLIED

Cambodia's UN mission declares rapporteurs' findings one-sided

Cambodia’s UN mission in Geneva has "squarely dismissed" the contents of a June 29 joint press release issued by three UN special rapporteurs regarding a recent trial in the Kingdom, calling their findings "politically motivated".

In their press release, the trio of rapporteurs, which the mission did not name, called for an urgent review of the legal proceedings brought against a group of “opposition politicians” in Cambodia following a joint trial that ended in convictions for the 43 co-defendants charged with conspiracy to plotting against the government and incitement to cause social chaos.

The 43 co-defendants were sentenced individually to prison terms ranging up to eight years in length according to their level of guilt and involvement with the alleged plot.

“To state that the hearings were 'political' is both unfounded and prejudicial. There is no shortage of instances that those associated with the ruling party have been held accountable before the law by the same courts,” stated the Kingdom’s UN mission in a press statement, in reference to the court's treatment of the Cambodian People's Party (CPP).

The mission argued that the prosecution of CPP members in the past reinforces the fact that affiliation with a political party is not a form of entitlement in Cambodia that allows a person to break the law with impunity and that labelling the enforcement of the laws as political repression is to denigrate the rule of law and the equal application of it to all citizens, as warranted under the Constitution.

“The facts show that the recent trial was connected to a plot in 2019 known as 'event 9/11' wherein Sam Rainsy and his accomplices openly called for sedition and had mobilised funds to raise illegal armed forces against the legitimate government in order to unlawfully arrest the incumbent prime minister,” it said, referring to former president of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party to planned to return to Cambodia on November 9, 2019, to execute the plans.

The mission said these flagrantly illegal activities were carried out under the pretext of Rainsy's attempted repatriation and they were equivalent to a failed coup attempt, which is punishable under articles 453, 494 and 495 of the Criminal Code – “crafted with technical help of the western [legal] experts”.

The mission claimed that the "so-called rights experts" were following a narrative that is one-sided and biased.

"They seem to lose sight of the fact that their former colleague, Professor Rhona Smith, had denounced Sam Rainsy at the Human Rights Council in 2019 for his aggressive language and his attempts at incitement to overthrow Cambodia's democratically elected government.

“[Rainsy's conduct objected to by Smith] is identical to the charges that Sam Rainsy and his accomplices were found guilty of by the court, which proves that Cambodia’s justice system is not one based on hearsay evidence but on concrete presentation of the facts with full due process,” it said.

The mission further added that the alleged denial of physical access to the courtroom or complete access to the case files was not substantiated, stating that the truth was that some of the accused had fled from the process of accountability undertaken by the court.

The defendants had a full opportunity to be heard along with access to legal counsel in order to disprove the charges against them and to present their arguments in court, as part of their rights to due process guaranteed under the nation's Constitution, it said.

“Claims of prolonged or extended pre-trial detention are truly indicative of either a limited understanding of the law or an unwillingness to understand Cambodia's judicial procedures by these supposed rights experts,” the mission's statement concluded.


  • Ice cream, noodles flagged over carcinogen

    The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) has identified three types of instant noodles and ice cream trademarks originating from Thailand, Vietnam and France that are suspected to contain ethylene oxide, which poses a cancer risk to consumers. The general department has

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • Rise in Thai air routes to Siem Reap fuels travel hopes

    Local tourism industry players are eager for regional airline Bangkok Airways Pcl’s resumption of direct flight services between the Thai capital and Siem Reap town on August 1 – home of Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Archaeological Park – which is expected to boost the growth rate of

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker

  • Angkor lifetime pass, special Siem Reap travel offers planned

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to introduce a convenient, single lifetime pass for foreign travellers to visit Angkor Archaeological Park and potentially other areas. The move is designed to stimulate tourism to the culturally rich province of Siem Reap as the start of the “Visit

  • Recap of this year’s ASEAN FM meet and look ahead

    This year’s edition of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) hosted by Cambodia comes against the backdrop of heightened global tensions and increasing rivalry between major powers that have been compared to the animosity of the Cold War era. The following is The Post’