Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Accuse them all, Hun Sen dares



Accuse them all, Hun Sen dares

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Military Police, some armed with automatic weapons, face off with protesting garment workers at the Canadia industrial complex in Phnom Penh on the morning of January 3, 2014. Heng Chivoan

Accuse them all, Hun Sen dares

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday defended Cambodian generals who Human Rights Watch (HRW) claimed had committed rights abuses, saying they were “cleansed”.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the Cambodia-China Friendship Overpass in Phnom Penh, Hun Sen mockingly urged Brad Adams, the executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division, to accuse all of his nearly 110,000 officials rather than just a dozen.

“I would like to say to Brad Adams that you accused only 12 generals in Cambodia, which is too small a number. Please accuse them all. That would be enough because not only 12 generals are loyal to Hun Sen . . . [the generals] said it’s not enough. They ask you to include all 110,000 military personnel,” he said.

Last Thursday, HRW released a more than 200-page report titled Cambodia’s Dirty Dozen: A long history of rights abuses by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s generals. The document detailed the backgrounds of the 12 generals, eight of whom work within the National Defence Ministry and four at the Interior Ministry.

Hun Sen also responded to an unnamed political analyst who called for a government probe on the generals – likely Meas Ny – calling the idea “stupid”. “One analyst said the government should conduct an investigation. That’s such a stupid analyst. If you are stupid, be stupid by yourself. Don’t encourage others to be stupid with you.”

Rejecting the idea of HRW conducting an investigation into the officials, the prime minister said: “[HRW] have no rights. I have told you that, so do not make too many mistakes.

“You keep accusing and I keep investigating? Nothing can get done . . . Military and police are tools to protect the government and the country. You must understand that. If you don’t understand, you need to learn more. You’re the stupid PhD.”

Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division, told The Post via email on Monday that it is no surprise the prime minister won’t allow any investigation into the 12.

“Put simply, much of Hun Sen’s power is based on fear among the people that if they step out of line they can face violent retaliation from security units led by the dirty dozen,” he said.

“As for his taunt that we should accuse all 110,000 Cambodian soldiers, that’s pure silliness . . . It’s rather sad that Hun Sen immediately assumes a critical report about his cronies in the top levels of the military and the police is somehow an attack on the rank and file soldiers of Cambodia,” he said.

Analyst Meas Ny said he was not sure whether the premier’s remarks were referring to him. However, he said, in general, the government should take any report seriously instead of dismissing it outright.

“Because we do not believe [the denials], that’s why we asked for an investigation. Nonetheless, it is common for the government to defend generals after any accusation is made,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • AstraZeneca jabs touch down in Phnom Penh airport

    The first shipment of 324,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/SII vaccine which was provided through the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility was delivered to Phnom Penh International Airport on March 2. The rest of the COVAX provided vaccines will arrive in Cambodia at a later date.