Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Government repudiates UN criticism

Government repudiates UN criticism

Government repudiates UN criticism

THE Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday dismissed United Nations criticisms of legal proceedings against Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Mu Sochua, describing the case as an “internal affair” of Cambodia.

“The Cambodian government absolutely rejects the statements made by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said.

“This defamation case has been through the court procedures, so this is an internal affair of Cambodia.”

In a biweekly press briefing in Geneva on Tuesday, UN spokesman Rupert Colville said Mu Sochua’s case was an example of the courts being used as a “blunt instrument” to silence freedom of expression.

“The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay is seriously concerned about the conduct of recent defamation proceedings against a prominent opposition politician in Cambodia,” Colville said.

“We believe this highly politicised case appears to show an alarming erosion of both freedom of expression and the independence of the judiciary in Cambodia.”

In August last year, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court convicted Mu Sochua of defaming Prime Minister Hun Sen and ordered her to pay a total of 16.5 million riels (around US$3,928) in fines and compensation. The charges were upheld twice on appeal, and Mu Sochua could face jail if she refuses to pay the fines, which are due this month.

Koy Kuong said it was unclear whether Cambodian officials would take the issue up directly with the UN, following a recent series of spats with the global body.

Last week, the ministry warned Christophe Peschoux, head of the local office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, that he had overstepped the bounds of his mandate by criticising the country’s deportation of two Thais on June 5.

In March, Foreign Minister Hor Namhong threatened to expel UN Resident Coordinator Douglas Broderick after his office issued a statement concerning the government’s Anticorruption Law.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince injured, wife dies after accident

    THE wife of former First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Ouk Phalla, 39, died while the prince was “severely” injured following a road accident in Preah Sihanouk province’s Prey Nub district on Sunday morning, officials said. Rananriddh, who is also the president of the Funcinpec

  • Bun Heang mocks US, threatens its citizens in scathing open letter

    After being hit with sanctions from the US Department of Treasury, Cambodian General Hing Bun Heang said he would retaliate against any US national who does not respect his country’s sovereignty, has ambitions to invade Cambodia or incites “traitors” in the Kingdom to do

  • Police warn boycott FB group involved in the “Clean Fingers Campaign”

    Police said on Tuesday that they will pick up members of a Facebook group involved in the “Clean Fingers Campaign” that promotes a boycott of next month’s national elections. However, police merely planned to “educate” the group for now, but warned that if the

  • Ranariddh 'seriously injured', his wife dies in accident in Preah Sihanouk

    THE wife of former first prime minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh has died. Ouk Phalla succumbed to injuries sustained in a traffic accident on National Road 4 in Preah Sihanouk’s Prey Nub district this morning. She and the prince were immediately rushed to the Preah Sihanouk