The Cambodia National Rescue Party is preparing to file a complaint to the International Criminal Court against Prime Minister Hun Sen over the deadly violence against striking factory workers last week.
CNRP deputy president Kem Sokha told reporters yesterday that the party was working with the families of those killed when riot police on Friday opened fire on workers gathered at Veng Streng Boulevard in the capital’s Meanchey district.
“We are preparing the procedure, and we have enough international lawyers to do this work,” Kem Sokha said, without elaborating.
He added he believed enough evidence had been amassed to sue Hun Sen at the court.
“[The crackdown] is enough for the national [and] international communities to see the mistake of the government, and I believe that … the international community would put pressure on the government to give back freedom to our people.”
Heang Rithy, president of the Cambodian National Research Organization, and Ny Chakrya, chief investigator at rights group Adhoc, argued that the violence was a systematic, disproportional use of force and not a response to clashes.
“Why can’t [we] file a complaint? There is adequate evidence now [to take the government to the ICC],” Rithy said. “This was not clashes, this was murder.”
Chakrya of Adhoc agreed.
“What took place at Veng Sreng Boulevard was arranged … to shoot on the crowd of people without targeting anyone specifically,” he said. “It was systematic. It was not a chance clash between workers and police.”
But Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan dismissed the move, saying it was unlikely to harm the government. “Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha and some allies are always thinking of the ICC to indict [members of the government]. A number of times, the ICC did not consider [such requests],” he said.
“My prime minister is a man of law, [trying to] make peace for the factory workers and bring back law and order. A number of countries do the same thing, because the majority needs peace, not mob violence.”
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY DANIEL PYE