Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry to diplomats: Sokha's treason trial 'transparent, just'

Ministry to diplomats: Sokha's treason trial 'transparent, just'

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation rebuffs claims by "Western" diplomats that the March 3 guilty verdict handed down to former opposition leader Kem Sokha for treason was a "miscarriage of justice".

Ministry to diplomats: Sokha's treason trial 'transparent, just'

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation rebuffs claims by "Western" diplomats that the March 3 guilty verdict handed down to former opposition leader Kem Sokha for treason was a "miscarriage of justice".

In a statement, the ministry said the 56 hearings for Sokha -- former president of the long-defunct Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) who has been sentenced to 27 years in prison and barred from politics on charges of conspiracy with foreign powers to topple the government -- proceeded in a transparent manner with "close observance" by representative of the media, civil society organisations and foreign embassies.

The ministry said claims by Western diplomats, whom it did not name, that Sokha's trial was built on a "fabricated conspiracy" was "prejudiced and hypocritical".

"Foreign conspiracy is [a crime] explicitly stipulated in articles 439 and 443 of Cambodia's Penal Code. Western countries also take foreign interference seriously with abundant instances of politicians being [indicted] for such a heinous crime.

"An attack on the judiciary of other countries, including the International Criminal Court, by certain Western governments is not unprecedented," it said.

The ministry added that diplomats' "arbitrary extension" of their role to an "extraterritorial invigilator" of the host nation's judicial system runs counter to the UN Charter and the 1961 Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.

The ministry said that despite the absence of a "few law-breaking" politicians, the upcoming July general election will proceed in a "free, fair, just and transparent manner that reflects the will of the people.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court delivered its highly-anticipated guilty verdict against Sokha at his 56th hearing on March 3, sentencing him to 27 years in prison under articles 439 and 443 of the Criminal Code and depriving him of political rights under Article 450.

He was not immediately sent to prison but confined to his home under court supervision.

According to the court’s March 3 statement, Sokha is barred from leaving his residence in Tuol Kork district’s Boeung Kak II commune, and from having contact with any Cambodian or foreign national by any means aside from his family members – unless granted permission by the prosecutor.


  • 12th Cambodia int’l film festival to see return of Hollywood star

    Phnom Penh is set to come alive with the magic of cinema as the highly anticipated 12th Cambodia International Film Festival (CIFF) takes centre stage. Boasting an impressive line-up of 188 films from 23 countries, including captivating shorts, feature films, documentaries and animation, the festival promises an

  • Bareknuckle champion wants Kun Khmer fighter

    Dave Leduc, who is the current openweight Lethwei boxing champion in Myanmar, has announced that he will travel to Cambodia this year to challenge SEA Games gold medallist Prum Samnang any time that is convenient, after their planned match later this month in Slovakia was

  • Struggling Battambang artist dreams of staging full-scale gallery exhibition

    Leav Kimchhoth, a 55-year-old artist from Battambang province, is a familiar face to locals and tourists alike on the streets of the riverside in Phnom Penh. The one-armed painter and illustrator often hawks his work near the night market on weekends and public holidays. He

  • Five-year-old Hanuman dances his way into hearts of Cambodia

    A young talent from a new-established settlement has emerged, captivating the online world with his mesmerising performances of the traditional Cambodian monkey dance. Roeun Kakada is a five-year-old prodigy who has taken the social media sphere by storm with his exceptional dance skills and dedication

  • Fresh Covid warnings as Thai hospital fills

    A senior health official reminds the public to remain vigilant, as neighbouring countries experience an increase in Covid-19 cases, with the latest surge appearing to be a result of the Omicron XBB.1.5 sub-variant. Or Vandine, secretary of state and spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health,

  • New Law on Taxation comes into effect

    Cambodia has enacted the eagerly-awaited new Law on Taxation, which aims to improve the national tax regime’s compliance with present and future international standards and economic conditions; encourage accountability, effectiveness and transparency in the collection process; and promote investment in the Kingdom. King Norodom