Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - CHRC rebuffs criticism of jail terms for ex-CNRP leaders

CHRC rebuffs criticism of jail terms for ex-CNRP leaders

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Former CNRP leader Sam Rainsy in 2015. Heng Chivoan

CHRC rebuffs criticism of jail terms for ex-CNRP leaders

The Cambodian Human Rights Committee (CHRC) has rebuffed UN rights officials’ criticism of lengthy prison terms for former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party and their alleged accomplices.

The response came after a group of UN rights experts issued a press release on March 5 deploring the lengthy prison terms of between 20 and 25 years for ex-CNRP leaders on charges of “attack” and their accomplices on charge of “plotting” under Article 451 and Article 453 of the Criminal Code, respectively.

The UN officials include Rhona Smith, special rapporteur on human rights in Cambodia; David Kaye, special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Diego Garcia-Sayan, special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers; and Clement Nyaletsossi Voule, special rapporteur on the right to peaceful assembly and association.

“International human rights law guarantees freedom of association and expression, as they are a central pillar of democratic societies and guarantors of a free and fair electoral processes.

“The conviction of the nine opposition leaders without clear legal grounds and without presence of the accused raises serious concern about the compatibility of the decision with international human rights law, including the right to be tried by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal,” they said.

In a press statement, the CHRC dismissed the criticism of Cambodian court procedures and ruling as groundless, saying democratic space in Cambodia is always open for those who exercised their rights and freedom in accordance with the Constitution and the law.

“Law enforcement against perpetrators of a crime is not tantamount to restrictions on rights and freedom and democratic space in Cambodia. Therefore, [their] criticism of court procedures and ruling are groundless and only made to defend the perpetrators. It is unfair and a double standard,” the CHRC said.

The CHRC took note of Rainsy’s announcement of his plans to return to Cambodia on November 9, 2019, to arrest Prime Minister Hun Sen and his call for the public and members of the armed forces to join him.

It said the plan was orchestrated by a handful of overseas politicians led by Rainsy to incite the armed forces to disobey orders and the public to revolt against the government.

“The November 9 [2019] plan was a coup plot, a serious crime that affects national security . . . The plan to return is just a pretext and a political ploy to entice and trick innocent people into participating in the plot.”

The CHRC said that there is clear and compelling evidence, some of which were easily obtained because Rainsy and his accomplices had used Facebook and other social media as a means to post provocative messages to serve their “fraudulent” plan.

On March 5, the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Cambodia in Geneva also issued a statement deploring the UN special rapporteurs’ criticism.

“Their personal comments are fraught with self-contradiction, selectivity and politicisation with disregard of the facts, and confuses right with wrong,” it said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the