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Sole-citizenship mandate for top offices and bill to wind down Khmer Rouge tribunal now under review

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The National Assembly (NA)’s Standing Committee led by NA president Heng Samrin (top-left) hold a virtual meeting regarding the draft amendments to several articles of the Constitution that would mandate a single-citizenship for four of the nation’s top offices. NA

Sole-citizenship mandate for top offices and bill to wind down Khmer Rouge tribunal now under review

The draft amendments to several articles of the Constitution that would mandate a single-citizenship for four of the nation’s top offices have now reached the expert commission of the National Assembly.

The Kingdom is also working with the UN on a law to exit the Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia (ECCC), signalling that work is winding down for the Khmer Rouge tribunal after many years of investigation and prosecution of those most responsible for genocide and crimes against humanity.

The NA said on October 14 that the draft amendments to articles 19, 82, 106, 119 and 137 of the Constitution and articles 3 and 4 of the Additional Constitutional Law tending to ensure the functioning of national institutions had reached the NA’s Commission on Legislation and Justice for review.

Afterwards they will be returning the documents to the NA’s Standing Committee to continue the legislative process to amend the Constitution.

In a press statement, the NA said the Standing Committee led by NA president Heng Samrin had held a virtual meeting regarding the amendments before referring them to the expert committee.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said on October 11 in his reply to a comment by a Facebook user that it would not take long to pass these amendments because the supporting arguments and other documents had already reached the NA.

“This will be of long-term benefit to the Kingdom. If you really love Cambodia then you should be brave enough to renounce all other foreign citizenships if you are accorded the great honour of serving the nation as its prime minister or the president of the NA, Senate or Constitutional Council.

“The amendment to the Constitution leaves the door open for any of our compatriots who have a collection of two or three or many citizenships to serve the country in any other capacity aside from the four specified.

“Our globetrotting compatriots will not be affected at all – except, perhaps, for one individual whose greatest wish has been his own personal elevation to a top position and especially to the office of prime minister for the past 20 years now,” said Hun Sen, apparently referring to former opposition leader Sam Rainsy.

“[Rainsy] tried to land a knockout kick, but he broke his own leg instead. He’s got no more displays of kung fu [martial arts] to show us. Not even proper fighting words! Unless you count ‘goodbye prime minister’ as verbal martial prowess,” he said.

Separately, Cambodia and the UN are working on legislation that would draw the ECCC’s work to a close and withdraw Cambodia from its jurisdiction.

The Council of Ministers on October 8 approved the draft law that would wrap up the agreement between the Royal Government of Cambodia and the UN regarding the tribunal held under Cambodian law for crimes committed during the period of the Democratic Kampuchea genocidal regime.

The draft law effecting Cambodia’s exit from the ECCC was among the documents advanced to the committees through the legislative process along with the sole-citizenship amendment. It is currently under review by the NA’s Commission on Legislation and Justice.

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