Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - No defence necessary: Sam Rainsy

No defence necessary: Sam Rainsy

No defence necessary: Sam Rainsy

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy said yesterday he will not ask his lawyer to defend him against charges of defamation and disinformation brought by Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong, in a case stemming from a 2008 complaint that the Phnom Penh Municipal Court announced last week it would hear on April 5.

Sam Rainsy, president of the eponymous political party, said yesterday he would not ask his lawyer to attend the trial “because it’s the same case with the same foregone conclusion”.

“As a matter of legal and judicial principle, nobody can be condemned twice for the same offence,” Sam Rainsy, who currently lives in self-exile in Paris, said by email.

The Municipal Court issued a summons on March 23 ordering Sam Rainsy to appear in court to face charges brought under Articles 62 and 63 of the UNTAC code.

In 2008, Hor Namhong filed a defamation lawsuit in France over a passage of Sam Rainsy’s autobiography, Rooted in Stone, which alleged that Hor Namhong headed the Boeung Trabek prison during the Khmer Rouge reign.

Sam Rainsy was fined and last year lost his appeal.

The Foreign Minister also filed suit in Cambodian courts in 2008 over a speech by Sam Rainsy that year delivered at the Choeung Ek “killing fields”, which referenced an alleged relationship between Hor Namhong and the Khmer Rouge leadership.

Deputy court prosecutor Ek Chheng Huot declined to comment yesterday and referred questions to Judge Seng Neang, who could not be reached.

Kar Savuth, Hor Namhong’s lawyer, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The latest case against the embattled opposition leader complicates his appeal for a political settlement that would allow him to return to the Kingdom ahead of upcoming elections in 2012 and 2013.

Sam Rainsy faces a pair of jail terms totalling 12 years, handed down last year in connection with a protest he staged at the Vietnamese border in 2009. He was stripped of his parliamentary seat this month as a result of the convictions.

Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, said yesterday the charges were “mainly to pile up more pressure on Sam Rainsy not to return”, but not necessarily an indication that the government has ruled out a deal.

Sam Rainsy said “inevitable” political change in Cambodia would bring about a resolution.

“A political solution depends on the political situation. There will inevitably be an evolution in the political situation in Cambodia as shown and announced by recent and ongoing developments worldwide (Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria, etc),” Sam Rainsy said.


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australians protest Asean summit visit by PM Hun Sen

    Hundreds of protesters gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park on Friday to protest against Cambodian strongman Hun Sen, who claimed to have been gifted millions of dollars by the Australian government ahead of a special Asean summit this weekend. An estimated 300 protesters, the majority of

  • One Australian, one Cambodian killed in explosion at military base

    Updated: 5:20pm, Friday 16 March 2018 An Australian tourist and a Cambodian soldier were killed in an explosion on Thursday afternoon at an army base in Cambodia’s Kampong Speu province. The Australian, whom the government initially identified as a technical demining expert in his 40s, and

  • Peeling back layers of prehistory in Battambang

    When the man passed away, he had not yet reached 50. He belonged to a tribe that had settled near the Sangker River in Battambang province, likely cultivating the fields and raising animals. On the side, they hunted for boars, and even turtles, one of which