Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on all Cambodians to distance themselves from Sam Rainsy – the former president of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) whom he dubbed a traitor – or face legal action.
The move came a day after the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on October 19 sentenced Rainsy to life in prison for “treason” in relation to his agreement with Montagnard Foundation Inc president Kok Ksor, signed in the US in 2013. Ksor started the foundation to oppose discrimination faced by the Degar community in Vietnam, who are also known as the Montagnards.
The agreement, “Degar Indigenous Rights in Cambodia”, was revealed in a video that resurfaced in 2013, in which Rainsy vowed to uphold the rights of ethnic minorities in four northeastern Cambodian provinces through his planned incorporation of three articles from the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into the Cambodian Constitution.
The Ministry of Justice said at the time that the move amounted to “treason”.
Speaking to reporters after updating his voter registration documents in Kandal province on the morning of October 20, Hun Sen said he previously used his DIFID strategy – divide, isolate, finish, integrate and develop – in dealing with the Khmer Rouge to bring about comprehensive peace, but will now use only I and F – isolate and finish – to end Rainsy’s political life in Cambodia once and for all.
Hun Sen noted that while visiting flood-affected provinces including Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey, Battambang and Pursat in the coming days, he will explain to the people and set up a network to destroy what he called “extreme ideologies”, in reference to Rainsy’s call for a revolt against the government.
“I go to the provinces this time also aiming to prepare our network to destroy extreme ideologies created by three generations of traitors,” he said.
Last week, Hun Sen also warned all political parties against associating themselve with Rainsy, or face legal action or a possible court-imposed dissolution of their parties.