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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Political violence

Political violence

I exhort the Government and parliamentarians, if they are serious about curbing political

violence preceding and following an election, to make into law a bill that will shift

the burden of proof from the victim's family or political party to the Government.

Presently, any act of violence against a political figure or supporter is assumed

NOT to be political. The victim's family is left with the burden to prove that the

act was politically motivated, an impossible burden of proof in reality, because

it is so easy for the Government to dismiss it as otherwise, eg witchcraft, personal


This law would shift the burden of proof.

In effect the law would say: Within the period of six months prior to an election

and two months after that election [for example], any person who is well known to

be politically active and is injured/maimed/killed within that period, will be AUTOMATICALLY

PRESUMED to be injured/maimed/killed because of his/her political activities [opposite

of current state]. Unless strong evidence surfaced to prove the contrary, the Government

(ie Ministry of Interior) is responsible for compensating the victim's family in

the amount of [$25,000 for example] for the death of the person to violence within

this period.

I've noticed an interesting trend: Until now, it used to be that "accidents"

or "robberies" only befell opposition figures. But now, it must be either

that the magic spell has lost its power to protect CPP activists/supporters, or that

the ruling party has become more shrewd in sacrificing a CPP person here and there

in the mix of every ten opposition figures injured/maimed/killed. (To keep those

nosy foreigners guessing and confused!)

This law would resolve either scenario-be it an opposition or a CPP individual, the

burden is on the Government to protect and compensate the victim or his/her family.

- Theary Seng - Cambodian-American Attorney - Washington, DC



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