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Debate shows NA's strength, says Ranariddh

Debate shows NA's strength, says Ranariddh

C O-PRIME MINISTER Prince Norodom Ranariddh said he was very happy with the

process in the National Assembly which resulted in the passing of legislation to

outlaw the Khmer Rouge.

In an interview with journalists on July 7

outside parliament he said: "I am very happy because it was the first time that

a proposal has come from the National Assembly and been accepted

unanimously.

"I think that it is a victory for the democracy too because

the proposal came from one of the members of the parliament.

"During

three days [of debate], in the framework of the National Assembly, it was a

very, very good implementation of the pluralism of a liberal democracy without

any pressure from anywhere."

He said the law provided guarantees to the

people and would not be used to accuse, suppress or oppress them thanks to the

members of parliament who have, through a liberal and free debate, improved the

draft law.

He said the law keeps the door open for a national

reconciliation with the KR by providing a six month amnesty period for KR

soldiers.

He added the law empowered the King at any time, not just

during the next six months, to grant amnesty to anybody from the top to the

bottom in the KR if he so desires.

When asked if King Sihanouk would

sign the draft into law Prince Ranariddh said: "This is not a problem. His

Majesty the King has been [informed] about all the options [in the draft]. And

secondly an interim Head of State [National Assembly Chairman Chea Sim] will

sign it, and his Majesty the King therefore will stay beyond all Cambodian

parties.

"Finally, I think that we have a very good law according to the

very urgent need coming from people."

When asked about the international

ramifications of the law the Prince said: "Now all the countries which used to

allow the Khmer Rouge to go through up till now, the Royal Government will ask

those countries not to allow any Khmer Rouge to go through or across the

territories, and not to recognize any other passports than that one delivered by

the Royal Government."

He said the Royal government "would ask all the

countries around the world to arrest the terrorists and outlaws [who were not

using Royal Government passports to travel internationally]. I think the

situation will be very strict ..... I think this is just one among many other

means to weaken the Khmer Rouge."

He said he felt one of the implications

of the law was that people would be drawn back into the national community, and

would no longer be attracted to the KR in the belief that one day they may be

leading the country.

Finance Minister Sam Rainsy, who had expressed

reservations that the law may be used to abuse human rights, said an hour before

the unanimous vote he was now satisfied the law had safeguards which would

protect the human rights of innocent people.

He said he was happy about

the debate and the MPs' efforts in the spirit of national reconciliation.

Earlier Rainsy unsuccessfully tried to move a motion suspending the law

to provide a chance for a cease-fire to be negotiated with the KR without

preconditions.

Chairman of the human rights commission of the National

Assembly Kem Sokha said the amnesty period would only apply to rank-and-file KR

and not to key leaders, though he declined to name who the amnesty would not

apply to.

He said after the amnesty period was over all KR would be

arrested regardless of whether they wanted to rejoin the national community.

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