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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hun Sen: Cambodia united "at any price"

Hun Sen: Cambodia united "at any price"

The Second Prime Minister spoke to the Post, along with two visiting German reporters,

Sept 27. An edited transcript:

Post: The government has so far given Ieng Sary a ceasefire and

an amnesty. Is it now time for him to give something in return?

Hun Sen: Yesterday [Sept 26] there was a meeting of the co-Commanders-in-Chief

of the Royal armed forces, with the participation of relevant departments including

the co-Ministers of Interior. In the meeting we came to the conclusion that we should

have as soon as possible the integration. We have received a statement from the Khmer

Rouge defectors, but not from... Ieng Sary, in which they would like to form Pailin

into an autonomous zone. So Samdech Krom Preah [co-Prime Minister Prince Norodom

Ranariddh] and I feel that it's now time that the government should come out with

a decision defining what to do. Today the General [army] Staff, with the other leaders,

have gone to Battambang to advise the leaders of the defectors so they can receive

this decision and carry it out. We have been giving Ieng Sary and the defectors what

they need, but right now it is their turn to give back to the people and the Government

of Cambodia. The right to [make] decisions is in Phnom Penh, no-one else has the

right. The formation of the province or city of Pailin is the right of the King through

a Royal decree upon the proposal of the two Prime Ministers. So we will not provide

other opportunities for any talks - it is now the time to make the arrangement for

the integration of the [KR breakaway] forces and their territory under the control

of the government. The articles of the Constiution of Cambodia stipulate that Cambodia

is an inseparable state, so Ieng Sary is not entitled to create any third force within

Cambodia. If he continues to form this secession, it means that he would be tried

by the court and be imprisoned for 20 to 30 years or life. You see, the Royal decree

which provides a pardon to Ieng Sary is based on two factors: one is the verdict

of 1979 which put a death sentence on Ieng Sary and the second one is the legislation

which outlawed the Khmer Rouge. [But] if Ieng Sary continues with the secession,

he could be tried in accordance with Article 4 of the legislation which outlawed

the Khmer Rouge [article 4 refers to "anyone" who conducts secession] and

in that case he would be imprisoned for 20-30 years or his whole life. The decision

by Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh and myself came into force yesterday and

was sent to the defectors today. You see, we are very flexible with regard to the

peace problem but we are very firm with regard to sovereignty, unity and territory.

So they do not have any possibility to delay. The rank-and-file, they would like

themselves to be integrated as soon as possible. Ieng Sary seems to think that all

Khmer Rouge defectors are under his control, which I feel is a misunderstanding.

It seems that he would like to form a third force to bargain with the government.

The government will not allow this to happen and any defectors who would like to

integrate first would be accepted by the government and then we will accept all the

forces, so that Ieng Sary will have nothing. We are not waiting for Ieng Sary to

come along with all the defectors, but we accept anyone who would like to come to

us.

Post: The statement that you received requesting that Pailin

become an automous zone, it is your belief that the statement was given with the

approval of Ieng Sary?

Hun Sen: This is contrary or different from what the [government and breakaway

KR] military has been working together on... At the divisional level, they were not

aware of this. But this statement came from Long Norin, the assistant of Ieng Sary,

so it might be true that this statement has been issued with the approval of Ieng

Sary. So we can see the difference between the defections from the military and the

politicians. The military side, they would like a quick integration, whereas on the

political side they would like to form a force and make it into a springboard for

a higher role. Today we did not invite Long Norin to come to [the meeting in] Battambang

because we don't want to involve our work with him. But this morning...I was told

by Minister of Defence Tea Banh that Long Norin asked to come to Battambang too.

We approved him coming to Battambang so that he could take our decision to Ieng Sary

to implement it. We would like to work with the military who were at the battlefield,

who were with the people. We don't want anyone to make use of this force for their

own political reasons. They are not entitled to do that. They cannot form their secession

and control a part of the country, that's against our Constitution...

German reporter: Why did you press for the amnesty?

Hun Sen: The question here relates to both military and political aspects.

We don't want Ieng Sary not to have the ability to work his way out - if he could

even help himself, how could he help the others? The question is related to the other

forces, not to Ieng Sary alone. According to the government's proposal, the King

was very favorable so that we could provide a possibility for Ieng Sary to lead the

force to be integrated into the government. I would like to stress that the pardon

provided to Ieng Sary is not just for Ieng Sary but to solve the peace problem and

put an end to the war.

German reporter: Ieng Sary claims he's not guilty for the killing fields.

Do you believe that?

Hun Sen: For me, I don't believe him because it took a long period of time

[for him to split from the KR]. They have been together since the 60s until almost

the late 90s: if there was a real split, it would have been long before this. At

least...the killings, they should accept it as a crime. So I don't believe that Ieng

Sary is not responsible for the crimes in Cambodia. He himself also said that he

was also responsible for it because he was among the leaders. You can then ask why

should I provide him a pardon? My answer would be the same - it's for peace. Because

Ieng Sary is related to the defectors' forces.

German reporter: What do you say to the critics who say that in giving

amnesty to Ieng Sary, questions of morals and justice are denied?

Hun Sen: I would like to explain to you a bit more detail on this question

so that we can understand each other. I do not understand that before this they rejected

our demands. They did not recognize the 1979 verdict. After he was sentenced in Phnom

Penh, he went to New York to deliver speeches. What does that mean? He delivered

a speech at the [UN] General Assembly in 1979, 80, 81 - three years.

Why did Interpol or New York Police not arrest him and send him back to us? What

is the reality then? It has to be changed according to the political situation: when

there is political demand for support of Ieng Sary, they say that Ieng Sary did not

commit any crime. Then they say the other way, in different circumstances. The pardon

provided to Ieng Sary does not mean that we put an end to the trial for the crime

of genocide in Cambodia. If you study the wording of the Royal [amnesty], you will

see that there is still the possibility to try the crimes committed by Ieng Sary.

Samdech Krom Preah gave me the job the write this Royal decree, with his consultation...

We paid much attention to the wording of the pardon, and there are two points to

consider: the first is that we based it on the 1979 court verdict; the second is

that we based it on the legislation which outlaw the Khmer Rouge - there are no words

in it which ban the accusation of Ieng Sary in front of a court which may be formed

in the coming times. Therefore we should speed up the investigation of the crimes

of Pol Pot so that we can bring all those responsible to justice. And then if Ieng

Sary can get rid of being accused, at least he can become a witness because he has

much evidence. So we should speed up the investigation into the [crimes] of Pol Pot.

Post: The funding of the Cambodian Genocide Program is currently

in danger for the future. Would you support the continuance of the program and, if

they find evidence against Ieng Sary, would you support putting him to trial?

Hun Sen: The program for the investigation of the crimes of genocide in

Cambodia, if there is any decrease to that, it would be financially, not on the activities

itself. So I would like to appeal to the government in Washington and other governments

that they increase their financial support to the program. I feel that we should

help this program be completed as soon as possible by way of providing more financial

support. If Ieng Sary is found to be guilty, would I support bringing him to justice?

I say that I would support that 100 percent. He himself said that he did not commit

any crime. But if it is found out that he did commit, he has to come to justice...

The Royal [amnesty] is based on two statements issued by Ieng Sary. In his statements

he denied his involvement in the crime of genocide. If, after invesitgation, it is

found out that he was involved, it means that his statements would become meaningless.

I think that if he was courageous enough to issue such statements, he would not be

afraid of the court. And so he will come to the court, and I support him going to

the court.

German reporter: Why did you not want the National Assembly to debate the

amnesty?

Hun Sen: First it relates to the Constitution, which clearly stipulates

that amnesties to be provided by the King to anyone are not subject to debate by

the National Assembly. I feel that if you are us, then you will see what should be

done. If you are the King, you would see what should be done. The King, he would

like to have a support petititon from two-thirds of the [National Assembly] deputies.

The two Prime Ministers believe that we will gather more than two-thirds support.

At the same time, we do not object to any petition which opposes the pardon. I feel

that this is enough... We feel that this is also a political umbrella which will

protect both the King and the Prime Ministers. If there was [National Assembly] debate,

then everything would not be secret. The secrets of the government, the secrets of

the military, would be out. Then we could not hide our ideas of what we are going

to do...it means we cannot strike the snake, for example, but destroy all the bush.

Therefore, we do not want this way.... did Clinton ask the permission from the National

Assembly before he fired cruise missiles into Baghdad?

Post: The statement relayed today to [Ieng Sary aide] Long Norin,

does that give a deadline for the terrorities of Pailin and Malai to be handed over

to government control?

Hun Sen: We did not put an ultimatum to them, because the defections do

not happen only in Pailin or Malai, but all around the country. We do not impose

any deadline, but we have to carry this out as quickly as possible.

Post: If the negotiations are not successful within one month,

two months, three months, are you prepared to fight the forces of Ieng Sary and the

forces of Pol Pot?

Hun Sen: Cambodia has to be united at any price we have to pay for that.

If this peace process did not succeed, then we will have the other way to succeed.

[But] I believe the peace process, the speed it has been going, is good. It would

be a wrong assessment of Ieng Sary if he thinks of a delay- he will have nothing.

Ieng Sary, who has relations with Pol Pot, [has] betrayed Pol Pot. And do you think

that those rank-and-file who disagree with Ieng Sary are willing to continue to live

in the jungle?

Post: If necessary you are prepared to sacrifice your negotiations with Ieng Sary

and concentrate on negotiating defections of rank-and-file soldiers?

Hun Sen: You can be convinced by our decision, which did not pay attention

to Ieng Sary. In the last article of yesterday's decision we [initially] put in the

people to implement it, including Ieng Sary. But Samdech Krom Preah requested to

take out Ieng Sary's name, because if he does not carry it out, it's up to him. So

we did not pay attention to what Ieng Sary wants, but we would like to pay attention

to the people living in that area. Because the real fighters are those who are on

the battlefield.

Post: What are you prepared to give to the people living in those areas... police

and military positions at a more junior level?

Hun Sen: We have established a [policy] of providing them with ranks according

to what they used to have [in the KR]. This morning at Battambang, we are thinking

of who would do what type of job. But I can stress that they would not have the rank

in the General Staff [of the army]... The highest rank they could have is deputy

commander of the region, like the rank we have given to [KR defector] Keo Pong in

Oral district. The ranks are to be provided to the actual men who play important

roles in this process. We are not considering giving a role to the politicians, we

do not consider giving them roles in civil administration.

Post: Are you prepared to allow a political party led

by Ieng Sary or by his senior followers?

German reporter: If I can add a further question to that, a lot of people feel there

could be a... new authoritorian government formed by the Khmer Rouge and the CPP?

Hun Sen: People are entitled to think whatever they like. When you talk

human rights, people must have the right to think. About Ieng Sary and others who

would maybe like to form a political party, I think if they integrate themselves

into society and live like other people, they are entitled to form political parties

if they so wish. But exclusively for Ieng Sary, whether he is able to form a party,

we have to think of the legal form. We have to think of the legal form for a person

who has been sentenced and then pardoned, whether he is entitled to form a party

or not. And to be a candidate for election, we have to verify the criteria to be

a candidate and I don't think he will fulfill all that criteria. I feel that Ieng

Sary will not do that, but there's a possibility that he will stand behind someone

who does do that. If you ask about the others, they must have their right to do that.

We do not have any law which bans them from forming political parties. The concern

that the Khmer Rouge might join the CPP and form a totatalarian left-wing movement

- that is impossible.... The Khmer Rouge and the CPP have been fighting each other

continuously. We never join the KR... I don't think the CPP can make any profit from

this. The CPP still celebrates the 7th of January, the day when we liberated the

people from the Pol Pot regime, and the 20th of May, which we consider the day of

hate against the Pol Pot genocide. And the system of pluralism cannot be retreated

from. I don't believe that totalarianism can be forced upon this country. No party

can use the cannon to control the country.

Post: You mentioned the importance of 7th of January and the

20th of May to yourself and your party. It must have been with some reluctance that

you decided to support the granting of amnesty to

Ieng Sary: Are you sure all of your party supports that decision?

Hun Sen: We suffered very much from the Khmer Rouge. The braveness of CPP

to provide a pardon to Ieng Sary is [because] of its concern for the living people.

It is a big point that CPP would not like to see any more deaths to Cambodians. There

remains only the access for them to integrate. If there is any sentence, I'm afraid

that Ieng Sary cannot avoid it. Because of this point, that makes us courageous enough

- first because of the peace and, secondly, because of the possibility that he may

be sentenced.

German reporter: Suppose Pol Pot would offer an agreement to

you. Would you consider amnesty for Pol Pot?

Hun Sen: I do not have such a belief. And if it happens, then you can come

and ask me again. I think there's no need for us to think about how many kilograms

of fish to bake or fry while the fish are still in the water. To me, I think it would

be very hard for Pol Pot. You see, almost 80 percent of the Khmer Rouge has defected...he

is left with nothing to make a gift to the government in exchange [for amnesty].

German reporter: Are you negotiating with Pol Pot?

Hun Sen: According to the legislation which outlaws the Khmer Rouge, we

are not entitled to talk or carry out negotiations with Pol Pot's military or political

organization. The fact that we talk to Ieng Sary and the defectors is because [they]

cut themselves from Pol Pot. [Other KR], they have to defect from the Pol Pot military

and political organization. If they are still within the Pol Pot military and political

organization, we will not talk to them.

Post: The Khmer Rouge is well known for their anti-Vietnamese

sentiment. One would presume there may be concern on the part of Vietnam about what

is happening in Cambodia now?

Hun Sen: I do not know the feeling of Vietnam but if they see the situation

in general, it should not be of their concern. Why can I say that? Because the question

of Vietnam is Vietnam: they need to develop their country, Vietnam, they defend their

country, Vietnam. So what happens in Cambodia is the problem of Cambodia, it's the

question of Cambodia. This is really outside of what we could talk about. We do not

know their feelings.

German reporter: What do you say to people who say Cambodia is

a Mafia state?

Hun Sen: You may have listened to a man I will not name here.... after

being expelled from the government he says the Kingdom is going toward a Mafia state.

Do you think America would support a Mafia state? Why has it just granted Cambodia

MFN status? We are now thanking President Clinton, thanking the Senate and the Congress

and the people of America for granting MFN status.

German reporter: But Cambodia still has no independent judiciary, it has no Constitutional

court, your party is controlling the army, the police, the civil service. This seems

like a very authoritian system?

Hun Sen: That is just your viewpoint. You can call it by yourself. I feel that you

have to stay another two years in Cambodia to say whether it is totalitarian or it

is the Cambodian way of democracy.

German reporter: The elections: why don't you allow Sam Rainsy's

party?

Hun Sen: It is a big misundertanding and I feel that there is no justice

in this world, especially no justice for Cambodia from the western world. Have you

ever heard me saying that Sam Rainsy's party is illegal? On the contrary, I say that

Sam Rainsy's party is legal. But no-one listens to that. It means that my words have

not been heeded. I even compare Sam Rainsy's party to a baby which has already been

born. So it's just a question of registering. Today, no party has any what we [could]

call a birth certificate, because we have no law on parties. We continue to use the

out-of-date law of UNTAC. I speak again, Sam Rainsy's party is legal. It has already

been established, even though we did not want it to be established, it has already

been established. I think it's just a block from here and you reach Sam Rainsy's

party office. It is close to the two Prime Ministers' houses and the Royal palace.

If Sam Rainsy's party is illegal, how could he carry out his activities for almost

a year? What is that - is it illegal or legal? I think justice should be given to

Cambodia.

Post: You're saying that as the Second Prime Minister, you consider

the Khmer Nation Party to be completely legal, to have the legal right to conduct

political activities, to open offices everywhere, including in Saang district, and

to face no action from any government forces?

Hun Sen: What would you really like to ask me?... His party can contest

the elections, he can even prepare himself to be a candidate for the commune elections.

The electoral law will allow every party to have equal rights in the elections. And

I also have information that within Sam Rainsy's party, he has already formed a committee

to select candidates for the commune elections. Mr Kong Koam, deputy president, signed

that as the acting president with the absence of Sam Rainsy - to form a committee

to select the candidates for the commune elections. Why are they doing that? Are

they doing that illegally or legally? I have even seen their [candidate] list. Have

I ever been telling those people not to do that? They are entitled to join the election.

German reporter: What kind of model for a government do you have

in mind for Cambodia. Are there any countries that you can say 'that kind of government

I would like to have'?

Hun Sen: First we have to talk about what is important for Cambodia. Political

stability is the most important thing for Cambodia. Therefore, it was my thinking

since 1987 that Cambodia needs a coalition government. That was...the time when I

led a movement toward a peaceful solution for Cambodia. When we call it a political

solution, it means we cannot avoid a coalition government. In this first term we

have a coalition government with two Prime Ministers, which is unique.... the two

Prime Minister system will come to an end with this first term. But for me, we have

been talking already within our party that Cambodia needs a coalition government

at least for another 10 to 15 years. Even though there would not be a two Prime Minister

government like today, we still need a coalition government. I plan that if CPP wins

the elections, I will prepare for five deputy prime ministers. I prepare these positions

for some political parties. This way, I would like to mobilize all the forces, material

and mental, for the development of the nation. I have cherished this idea for a decade

and I will not abandon this idea if I am still in control of CPP. Coalition government

is the future for Cambodia.

German reporter: You want to co-opt all the other parties into

the Government so you have no real opposition?

Hun Sen: In Cambodia, there are three trends. The first trend is to integrate

all parties into only one, and this trend seemed to be strong in the years of 1993/94.

I call this trend a long-way retreat, because we are now applying pluralism. Why

is there some thinking of forming only one party? I feel this is a type of retreat

which is also impossible. The second trend is that you have many parties but they

cooperate with each other in the Malaysian way. The third trend is to have many parties

but opposing each other. I prefer the second trend and to a certain extent the third

trend. It means that parties can apply the democratic way by cooperation or also

by way of opposition. If we have 10 parties in the National Assembly, it's a type

of cooperation. But if we have only seven parties in the government, leaving three

outside, it's also the democratic way.

Post: You will be aware that there is some talk in Phnom Penh,

and Samdech Krom Preah Prince Ranariddh has referred to this, about a meeting in

early August of the CPP at which it is alleged a strategy toward the 1998 election

was discussed, and that this strategy included vote-buying and other improper acts.

Can you respond to this?

Hun Sen: I also read that article in the Phnom Penh Post which refers to

the meeting of the 6th of August of 1996. But I could not find in my notebook any

such a meeting on that day. I cannot understand, I am the deputy chairman of the

CPP and have been instructed to manage all the work within the CPP. I'm also the

chairman of the CPP electoral committee. But I did not know of any such thing, who

held that meeting? I requested my colleagues to find the paper, the documents and

find out who held such a thing. You see, [there was] a weekly meeting of the CPP,

[where] we talked only about the appointment of CPP officals in the country. I led

[another] meeting during the last few weeks, and then we talked about the electoral

system. We talked about the King's idea of a mixed system of 50 percent single representation

and 50 percent proportional representation. Then, Samdech Chea Sim was leading a

delegation to Australia, so he entrusted me to convene a meeting to discuss about

this system of election. So the dicussion focussed mainly on the electoral system,

to consider the ideas of the King... it relates to the electoral law which is being

drafted by the Ministry of Interior.

To date we did not decide on which system is to be used, but [we are] allowing

a sub committee to discuss to find out which are the good and strong points of each

system. It would be a good point [to] allow half to be single representation and

half to be proportional representation, which deserves consideration. [But] we have

also to think about the expenditure that it will require to hold this type of election.

[And if] we have such a voting, it might create chaos within the people. So we are

still in the process of considering the ideas of the King and have not yet come to

any conclusion. So I cannot locate the note which I made for the meeting of the 6th

of August, so I would like to tell you that it is untrue. It could be a creation

of some people so that some other parties might misunderstand CPP, because they will

profit from the difference that would occur between CPP and Funcinpec. CPP and Funcinpec

will not profit from the conflict. It is the Khmer Rouge and the opposition party

that will benefit from the conflict between the two main parties. Samdech Krom Preah

and I know this problem very well. The King is also very convinced of this problem.

So we try to overcome all these difficulties and try to maintain good relations.

You see, conflict puts me in difficulty, but cooperation puts me in a good mood.

Yesterday Samdech Krom Preah talked to me on the phone and ask me to draft this [decision

on the breakaway KR]. So I finished it and sent it to him for his consideration.

Some documents, some papers, Samdech Krom Preah sends to me for consideration. Is

this is not good coooperation? What we would like to have is to make the best work,

so that we can cooperate with each other. We rely on each other's opinions, each

other's ideas. So, such a creation is an attempt to create conflict between Hun Sen

and Ranariddh, and within CPP and Funcinpec. Within CPP, I was really respected by

my colleagues, and I also repsect Samdech Chea Sim. They cannot do anything to Chea

Sim without my knowledge. If Hun Sen and Chea Sim did not realize such a meeting,

who knows about it?

Post: On the matter of Funcinpec-CPP relations, powersharing

at the district level was the issue in March that led Samdech Krom Preah to make

public some complaints about CPP. Is the issue of powersharing back on the agenda

for negotiations between CPP and Funcinpec now?

Hun Sen: It has now become the past. It has not been taken up for talks

again. In one of my meetings with Samdech Krom Preah, he mentioned that he will not

mention again that question. I also mentioned this question [should be] done in an

administrative way. You see, if we are short of five district chiefs, then we have

to take in 20 candidates [to sit] exams for the positions. This way is more pragamatic

for the administration. I would like to stress that it is the past and it is no more

the subject of discussion.

German reporter: Critics say some international aid is being

spent not on the country but in the pockets of the government. The allegations of

corruption, you are a powerful man, can't you do anything about it?

Hun Sen: First we have to think of the international assistance, whether

it is related to the corruption of the government officials or not. There was the

allegation that we have been putting international assistance into the pockets. But

you are from Germany... you have provided us assistance, but not money [directly]

to us. How could we put it in our pocket? You see the assistance for National Route

4 from America - the tender was organized by America, the management is also by America.

The Japanese assistance in the form of the road, the bridge...is also organized by

the Japanese. They did not even allow Cambodian companies to participate.

German reporter: But there's still the logging going on against

the law?

Hun Sen: Allow me to inform you first. I will tell you all you would like

to know. I just divide the subjects: first, what is called the international assistance

going into the pockets of people. If you say there is corruption within international

assistance, we can completely reject that. If there is any corruption within the

international assistance, it must be within the foreigners who control the money.

Because Ranariddh, Hun Sen nor Keat Chhon have all this money in their hands. The

international organizations working in Cambodia, they control the finances. The second

aspect, related to the timber business: this timber business is a headache topic.

We can no longer use the satellite map of Cambodia made in 1992/93 because then they

showed a lot of forest which does not exist now. There is really anarchy within this.

Through this, corruption also emerges. Therefore, the government takes new measures

in management and exportation of timber. You say that I am a powerful man, why I

cannot put an end to this? A strong man cannot do anything. You need strong men throughout

the country. This is what we are now working on together: the eradication of poverty,

increasing the knowledge of the people, that's what we need to do. We have to make

enough laws, we have to have the human resources, so that we can turn our country

into a state of law.

German reporter: You claim that a lot of people have tried to

kill you. Who are your enemies?

Hun Sen: So far I have sent two letters to the American Embassy here in

Phnom Penh. [The information] came from Long Beach in America, and they said the

information they got is from Canada. I do not understand, I do not know who it is.

There is the letter sent by the Khmer Republican Committee in Long Beach to their

committee in Phnom Penh. The Republican committee in Phnom Penh let it out intentionally

so that I know about it. In that letter, they seem to accept that I am the pillar

of stability in this country. In their letter, they advise their people in Phnom

Penh that if Hun Sen were killed, then they have to flee to the US embassy in Phnom

Penh or to Bangkok. We got this letter, and we sent it to the US embassy in Phnom

Penh and later we got another and we did the same. You see, I cannot say who is my

enemy... we cannot say before an investigation finds it out. And it is beyond our

ability to carry out this investigation; maybe we have to rely on Interpol or the

source of the information. Even in Phnom Penh, there is still such an [assassination]

attempt, but I do not know who is doing it. The investigation is still underway.

Sometimes I feel they create such a thing to threaten me, or sometimes maybe it is

their intention to anger me, so that I will make a mistake, for example the order

to arrest this or that person, which might create a problem.

Post: What is your view of the possibility of Prince Sirivudh

being granted amnesty and being allowed to return to Cambodia?

Hun Sen: I did not prepare myself to consider this question. One should

not link this case to that of Ieng Sary. Otherwise we will create some bad habits

of doing anything at will. It seems that there is an attempt to link the case of

Ieng Sary to that of Sirivudh, Chakrapong, Sin Song, Sin Sen. I feel it is not logical

at all to include separate cases in a package. One case is related to peace and war,

that is the case of Ieng Sary. Another case relates to the coup d'état, and

the other case to an assassination attempt. If we link every case to one another,

it means we have to release all the thieves, all the people who commit crimes, from

all the prisons. And then we have to destroy all the prisons, and put an end to the

courts. And then anyone can carry out a coup d'état with impunity and anyone

will come back to Cambodia and altogether form a coup d'état. That should

not be difficult for anyone: if you win in a coup d'état, then you will have

power, if you lose it, you will still have impunity... if you win, you can become

the president of the state, if you lose, you can still remain a humble person. That

would be no different from the case in... Malawi. I used to meet the president of

Malawi...who used to be the chief of the bodyguards and then he staged a coup d'état

and won and became the president of the state... It is not a joke at all and it also

related to foreigners who came to do it too. I used to joke "Welcome to Cambodia

to stage a coup". With impunity, it is so easy... so if Norodom Sirivudh could

receive amnesty, then no measure could be taken. Anyone could threaten anyone at

will. Then you will take it as a joke. It was lucky that it did not happen. if it

really happened, I would be the Rabin of Israel already. So should we wait until

it happens like Rabin of Israel before we can take action? So I think one should

not put different cases into the same package, otherwise I will demand all prisons

be destroyed, and we would remain quiet to anyone who would like to stage a coup

d'état... You see because of this coup attempt [in 1994]...within 48 hours,

I could only have two hours rest.

Post: The case of You Hockry, and the request that has been made by the court prosecutor

for Parliamentary immunity to be lifted to allow an investigation. Would you support

the lifting of his immunity?

Hun Sen: I feel I should not comment on this because it seems to be a complicated

situation. It also happens at a time when we have to be more concerned about the

situation in Pailin and Malai, so I give more of my attention to that. At the same

time, there seems to be too many letters exchanged, so I feel I have to stand afar.

But I feel that if it is required by the court, we should respect the rights of the

court. I feel that one should cleanse oneself in the court, rather than allow oneself

to continue to be accused. Me, the same. If there's something not clear with me,

I would like to clear myself in the court. If someone complains about me over something,

I have to go to the court. They can lift my immunity, and if they try me and find

me to be guilty, they can imprison me. But if I did nothing wrong, I would be given

back the immunity. Lifting the immunity does not mean that you committed a crime.

It is just to open the way so that the court can work on people with immunity. This

is my principle opinion, not related to the case of You Hockry... please don't link

my principle opinion to the case of You Hockry. Leave me to one side, and then I

[will] look at the question. I don't want this to be misunderstood as a political

problem between CPP and Funcinpec. My concern is that people will have such an idea.

You may know my nature, I do not concern myself with this or that party. You may

know who is Mr Chakrapong, Sin Song and Sin Sen. They are CPP leaders. and who arrested

them - it was me. I did not think of the party, I thought of the law, so they can

understand Hun Sen clearly. It is not the party, or politics, but it is a question

of the law. So you may understand that people think the court is under my power.

It's not true. Even me, I will allow myself to go to the court if it is requested

or required by the court....It is my principle position, not only for the others,

but even for myself.

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