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

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Cambodia purchases 4 million Molnupiravir tablets

    Cambodia has arranged for the purchase of four million US-made Molnupiravir pills – enough to treat 100,000 Covid-19 patients – even though the current rate of daily infections in Cambodia remains low. The medicine will be distributed to state hospitals, pharmacies and private clinics, according to the Samdech

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Cambodia planning new border checkpoint at Thma Da

    Cambodia is looking into the possibility of opening a new Thma Da Border Checkpoint with Thailand to boost trade and tourism. The Ministry of Public Works and Transport said on December 4 that Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol led a technical working group