Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Thursday that all 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) member states will receive warrants for the arrest of Sam Rainsy. The warrants have already been sent to Laos and Thailand.
He was speaking at a joint press conference at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh together with Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith as he began a two-day visit to the Kingdom on Thursday.
Thongloun said Laos would not allow Rainsy, the “ acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party, to use its territory to enter Cambodia.
Last Saturday, Rainsy, who lives in France to avoid a slew of outstanding court cases and convictions, called on Cambodians to use “people power” to support his promised return to the Kingdom on November 9.
The prime minister said a list of all people wanted by the Cambodian authorities would be sent to the Kingdom’s neighbours.
Hun Sen said: “An analyst said he thought that [Rainsy’s] group may use Lao territory to enter Cambodia.
“I want His Excellency the Prime Minister to confirm to them that as is the Asean principle, Laos’ principle is to not allow any use of its territory to oppose Cambodia or neighbouring countries.
“Laos and Thailand have already received a list of names of Cambodians with outstanding arrest warrants. We will also send this to all the other countries in Asean.”
In response, Thongloun confirmed that as a neighbouring country and an Asean member, Laos will not allow Rainsy to use its territory to enter Cambodia.
He called the conjecture that Rainsy could use Laos territory to cross into Cambodia as untrue.
“I would like to confirm that we will work thoroughly to prevent any convicted persons, regardless of nationality, from using Laos, either in transit or by crossing it, to harm another country,” Thongloun said.
He advised analysts who said Rainsy would use Laos for his promised return on November 9 to stop saying things that could divide Cambodia and its northern neighbour.
Ministry of Justice spokesman Chin Malin said Cambodia has sent arrest warrants for Rainsy to countries that share regional cooperation.
If those nations had good relations, he said, they would arrest Rainsy and send him to Cambodia.
“Sending the arrest warrant is part of the mechanism of regional cooperation that obliges each nation to help another to enforce the law to prevent cross-border crimes.
“Helping each other with law enforcement via extradition is a form of international cooperation. Based on this spirit of cooperation, they should arrest any convicted person and return them to Cambodia,” Malin said.
Kin Phea, the director of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, agreed that having received a Cambodian arrest warrant, Asean member states should arrest Rainsy.
“Cooperation between Cambodia and other Asean countries is good. I believe that these countries will help Cambodia enforce the law as we jointly strengthen the principle of national and regional security,” Phea said.
Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said Thai and Cambodian police had cooperated in February last year at Cambodia’s request.
Thai police arrested Sam Sokha and returned her to Cambodia to face court after throwing a shoe at a poster of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party’s leaders.
“In the case of Sam Rainsy, Thailand may arrest him at the request of the Cambodian government. Thailand could also prevent Rainsy from entering or crossing the country to avoid criticisms of arresting him for Cambodian authorities,” Mong Hay said.
Meanwhile, deputy prosecutor Seng Hieng issued three separate summonses last Wednesday ordering Rainsy, senior CNRP official Ho Vann and Kak Kumphea to appear at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on October 2 for questioning over charges of insulting and incitement to commit a felony.
Rainsy is facing up to 10 court cases on charges including inciting others to cause discrimination, inciting soldiers to disobey orders, insulting the King and defamation.