Prime Minister Hun Sen has branded opposition leader Sam Rainsy as “stupid” for filing a criminal complaint against him in New York, saying United States courts had no power over him.
Speaking at a graduation ceremony in Phnom Penh, Hun Sen lambasted his longtime political foe, who is living in self-imposed exile.
“US courts do not have the right to do anything to the Cambodian prime minister,” he said. “The key for opening up [Sam Rainsy’s] return to the country is Hun Sen.”
Last week, Sam Rainsy filed a criminal complaint against Hun Sen, alleging his involvement in a 1997 grenade attack on an opposition rally that killed 16 people and wounded more than 100.
Hun Sen rebutted the claim that he was involved in the 1997 grenade attack, saying Sam Rainsy wrote to him in 2005 apologising and retracting the accusation.
He dared Sam Rainsy to file a complaint in Brussels while the premier is there for the ASEM 8 Summit next week.
“When the dog bites my leg, I don’t bite the dog’s leg – I use my leg to kick the dog,” he said. “I won’t implore you and there is no court that would dare to do anything with me.”
On September 23, Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced Sam Rainsy to 10 years in prison for releasing maps allegedly showing Vietnamese border encroachments.
SRP spokesman Yim Sovann said the complaints were filed in the US because the court system was independent and could find justice after the grenade attack.
“We believe in the US courts. They are different from the Cambodian courts, which are under the influence of the ruling party,” he said.