Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Government defends ‘dirty dozen’



Government defends ‘dirty dozen’

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. Four people were killed and 29 others were shot during the crackdown. Heng Chivoan

Government defends ‘dirty dozen’

Government officials have reacted strongly to a Human Right Watch (HRW) report that profiles 12 Cambodian generals – the “dirty dozen” – claiming they are perpetrators of human rights abuses.

HRW on Thursday released a more than 200-page report titled Cambodia’s Dirty Dozen: A long history of Rights Abuses by Hun Sen’s Generals.

Shortly after the report’s release, the Ministry of Defence issued a press release strongly refuting it. It labelled the report an “arbitrary exaggeration” with the intention to slander without grounds or reasons 12 high-ranking officials within the armed forces.

The report had detailed the background of the 12 generals, eight of whom work within the National Defence Ministry and four at the Interior Ministry.

The generals include Pol Saroeun, commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF); Kun Kim, deputy commander of RCAF and chief of the RCAF Mixed General Staff; and Sao Sokha, deputy supreme commander of RCAF and commander of the Royal Khmer Gendarmerie (GRK).

Also included were Neth Savoeun, supreme commissioner of the Cambodian National Police; Chea Man, deputy commander of the Army and commander of Military Region 4; Bun Seng, deputy commander of the Army and commander of Military Region 5; and Choeun Sovantha, deputy commander of the Army and commander of Military Region 2.

Others in the list were Chap Pheakdey, deputy chief of the RCAF Joint General Staff and commander of Special Forces Paratrooper Brigade 911; Rat Sreang, deputy commander of the countrywide GRK and commander of the Phnom Penh Gendarmerie; and Sok Phal, deputy supreme commissioner of the National Police and supreme director for immigration.

And finally, Mok Chito, deputy supreme commissioner of the National Police and secretary-general of the National Anti-Drugs Authority (NADA); and Chuon Sovan, deputy supreme commissioner of the National Police and commissioner of the Phnom Penh municipal police were also named.

The report claimed the generals were the backbone of an abusive and authoritarian police regime.

“Each had demonstrated a willingness to commit rights abuses on behalf of Hun Sen. Instead of serving the public, these officials have acted to protect the rule of Hun Sen, who has been in power for more than 33 years,” the report claimed.

HRW’s Asia director, Brad Adams, said Prime Minister Hun Sen had created a core of security force officers who “have ruthlessly and violently carried out his orders”.

“The importance of Cambodia’s generals has become even more apparent ahead of July’s election, as they engage in crackdowns against journalists, political opponents and anti-government protesters – and openly campaign for Hun Sen,” Adams said.

The report claimed the officials have a legal responsibility to represent the state instead of a political party and should carry out their duties impartially and neutrally.

“But on the contrary, these generals had acted to serve the ruling party as each of them was a member of the CPP central committee."

“No dictator reaches or stays at the top without the support of the other ruthless people,” Adam’s said, adding: “Like their boss, they need to be called out and held accountable for their many crimes.”

In response, the Ministry of Defence said: “The invention of such a crazy report from this group is in violation again and again of the sovereignty, independence and rule of law of the Kingdom of Cambodia to serve the evil politics of some foreigners and treasonous politicians who attempted to start a colour revolution, destroying the peace and happiness of the people.

“Even though the colour revolution failed and its leader was arrested, some within this group have not thrown away the idea of destroying the nation.

“The Ministry of Defence outright dismisses the accusations contained in the report, and condemn the poisonous trick of the so-called Human Rights Watch.”

Chito said he didn’t care about the report. “I don’t know what they accused me of. Brad Adams is confused and says whatever he wants.

“But the fact is that he has no basis for his accusations, and we don’t care about it because it does not come from the US government but an individual.

“He accuses anyone he hates, like me. I do not know anything, but he said I violated human rights. I wonder when I did that. If they were thieves, robbers or drug dealers, we arrested them. I have never violated human rights,” Chito said.

Council of Ministry spokesperson Phay Siphan on Thursday also said the HRW had a political agenda and is biased and subjective.

“[Adams] spoke at a number of forums urging experts, Cambodian-Americans, lawmakers in the US and its allies to revolt against the elected Prime Minister Hun Sen and the royal government of Cambodia,” Siphan said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Phnom Penh underpass opens to ease traffic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced a temporary opening of the 488m underpass at the Chaom Chao roundabout in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district, which was recently completed to connect traffic from National Road 4 to Russian Federation Blvd. The move is to reduce

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Show evidence of Chinese military base, critics told

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday said he had had enough of certain countries and opposition groups claiming Cambodia had allowed China to base its military in Cambodia and dared critics to show clear evidence. Hun Sen made the remarks while presiding over a groudbreaking

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from