Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry slams Murphy

Ministry slams Murphy

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The ministry said US Ambassador Patrick Murphy (left) showed a lack of diplomacy and regard for the Kingdom’s autonomy in his recent comment. Foreign Affairs Ministry

Ministry slams Murphy

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on Friday said a recent comment by US Ambassador Patrick Murphy about Kem Sokha’s trial showed disregard for Cambodian sovereignty.

The ministry said Murphy’s comment made after the latest hearing in the Sokha case showed a lack of diplomacy and regard for the Kingdom’s autonomy.

“Such expression of opinion violates Article 41 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 and Article 2 (7) of the UN Charter, which states that all diplomats, whether from big or small countries, must fully respect each other,” the statement said.

The ministry’s statement referred to Murphy’s comment on March 12, after he attended the trial of Kem Sokha, who has been charged with conspiring with a foreign power to topple the government.

Murphy who left the hearing before a break was called, told reporters outside the court: “We are troubled to see that the prosecutors have introduced a fabricated conspiracy theory involving the US.

“The US has distributed almost $3 billion in recent decades in assistance to Cambodia, including transparent assistance to strengthen institutions and political parties in line with the Cambodian Constitution.”

Murphy said the US fully respects Cambodian sovereignty, but that it also wants to see a society that tolerates dissenting views, which is a crucial part of democracy.

The ministry said Murphy’s comment runs contrary to the commitment made during the countries’ 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations to strengthen ties and understand and respect each other.

The ministry also stressed that the Cambodian judiciary was independent of the government.

Shortly after Murphy’s comment, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court issued a statement to defend its actions.

“In the case involving Kem Sokha, who has been charged with conspiring with a foreign power under Article 443 of the Criminal Code of the Kingdom, the prosecutor treated Sokha according to the law of Cambodia,” it said.

Over the last seven weeks, Sokha has been questioned by the court over his relationship with organisations such as the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI).

Political Analyst Em Sovannara said the ambassador’s intention was simply to clarify the nature of the relation between the US and Cambodia.

“Kem Sokha is being charged with conspiring with a foreigner power – the US.

The US has the right to comment on this to improve relations between the two countries,” he said.

However, the same day Murphy made his comments, Ministry of Justice spokesman Chin Malin said: “No one accuses the US of being behind Sokha, not even the government.

“The case is still in the hands of the court. Kem Sokha is the one that involved the US.”


  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting