Opposition leaders yesterday called on those who have been subject to state-inflicted human rights abuses to collect evidence for an International Criminal Court complaint against Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Speaking at a rally in Kampong Speu province, Cambodia National Rescue Party deputy president Kem Sokha told hundreds of supporters that an international legal team had been engaged and was conducting an investigation into the recent killings of protesters.
Sokha also called on “victims” of state abuses since 2002 – the year Cambodia ratified the ICC statute – to come forward with evidence.
“The cases since 2002 must be included in [the recent] cases to file with the International Criminal Court. So please [citizens] submit complaints, [for] issues of land grabbings, beatings and shooting, please collect [evidence] for the international lawyers,” he said.
Sokha emphasised that the CNRP was not filing the complaint as a party, but was facilitating contact between victims and lawyers, who would likely visit Cambodia in April.
Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan slammed Sokha’s appeal as a strategy to topple the government.
“It is their freedom, whatever they want to do, go ahead. We have never been interested in this issue . . . This is their strategy for the toppling [of the government] . . . We have never done anything wrong.”
Richard Rogers, the former head of the defence support section at the Khmer Rouge tribunal and the chief lawyer engaged by the CNRP, said that while the investigation would primarily use public reports from NGOs and international organisations, his team welcomed Sokha’s call.
“Individual statements from victims will serve to compound the public reports and further guide our analysis.
“This process is all about victims so we are keen to hear from anyone who has had his/her fundamental human rights violated by state actors since 2002,” he said in an email.
Rogers has previously said that the “cumulative impact” of rights abuses since 2002 could be considered crimes against humanity.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY KEVIN PONNIAH