Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - General stands ready to arrest CNRP leadership

General stands ready to arrest CNRP leadership

CNRP acting president Kem Sokha attends a briefing on voter registration at party headquarters in Phnom Penh this week. Facebook
CNRP acting president Kem Sokha attends a briefing on voter registration at party headquarters in Phnom Penh this week. Facebook

General stands ready to arrest CNRP leadership

The Kingdom’s armed forces stand ready to arrest the leaders of Cambodia’s opposition party, one of the country’s highest-ranking military officers said in video uploaded to social media yesterday.

Four-star General Kun Kim, deputy commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, said his troops would “enforce the law” if they receive an order to seize CNRP president Sam Rainsy and his deputy, Kem Sokha.

The comments followed the Supreme Court setting an appeal hearing date for Sokha who, like the self-exiled Rainsy, faces several cases widely considered politically motivated.

Discussing the necessity of “arresting” the pair, he said, “I am a law enforcer, and the armed forces defend the government. Provided that there are orders, I must enforce, I must defend the government.”

The general, a close ally of Prime Minister Hun Sen, further said that if RCAF received orders, it would “guarantee to arrest” the CNRP leaders.

“Even . . . if we expend flesh and blood, we must enforce the law,” said the general, who has been labelled the premier’s “axe man” by Human Rights Watch.

Kim’s comments are the latest of many speeches about politics by top RCAF brass, many of whom are openly hostile to the opposition. That pattern drew a stern rebuke from a visiting US State Department official in July, who threatened to suspend military assistance.

According to the general statute for military personnel, the armed forces have a duty to manage the “defence of the motherland and the supreme interests of the nation”, but in “necessary circumstances” can defend public security and assist citizens.

Speaking yesterday, Kevin Nauen, a senior research fellow at the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace, said that the military’s role should be limited to external defence, with police handling court enforcement.

“Such military involvement in ongoing internal politics runs contrary to good governance of the security sector, but it also demonstrates a lack of respect for the role of the police,” Nauen said. “Also . . . these comments can be taken as an indication that the outcome has already been decided by high-level authorities and imposed on the court.”

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said all branches of Cambodia’s security forces could “enforce the law”, provided there was a court order.

The Supreme Court on Friday will hear an appeal by Sokha’s lawyers over his refusal to submit to summonses for questioning tied to his alleged affair with a hairdresser, a case for which a trial date has already been set.

The attorneys have appealed on the grounds that Sokha has parliamentary immunity and that his lawyers had submitted valid explanations about his absences.

Additional reporting by Shaun Turton

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the

  • S’ville set to turn into ‘second Shenzhen’

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance has awarded a master plan consultancy contract to top Chinese institute for the development and transformation of Preah Sihanouk province into a “Model Multi-Purpose Special Economic Zone”, Southeast Asia’s next logistics and resort hub and innovation centre. The