The Second Prime Minister spoke to the Post, along with two visiting German reporters,
Sept 27. An edited transcript:
Post: The government has so far given Ieng Sary a ceasefire and
an amnesty. Is it now time for him to give something in return?
Hun Sen: Yesterday [Sept 26] there was a meeting of the co-Commanders-in-Chief
of the Royal armed forces, with the participation of relevant departments including
the co-Ministers of Interior. In the meeting we came to the conclusion that we should
have as soon as possible the integration. We have received a statement from the Khmer
Rouge defectors, but not from... Ieng Sary, in which they would like to form Pailin
into an autonomous zone. So Samdech Krom Preah [co-Prime Minister Prince Norodom
Ranariddh] and I feel that it's now time that the government should come out with
a decision defining what to do. Today the General [army] Staff, with the other leaders,
have gone to Battambang to advise the leaders of the defectors so they can receive
this decision and carry it out. We have been giving Ieng Sary and the defectors what
they need, but right now it is their turn to give back to the people and the Government
of Cambodia. The right to [make] decisions is in Phnom Penh, no-one else has the
right. The formation of the province or city of Pailin is the right of the King through
a Royal decree upon the proposal of the two Prime Ministers. So we will not provide
other opportunities for any talks - it is now the time to make the arrangement for
the integration of the [KR breakaway] forces and their territory under the control
of the government. The articles of the Constiution of Cambodia stipulate that Cambodia
is an inseparable state, so Ieng Sary is not entitled to create any third force within
Cambodia. If he continues to form this secession, it means that he would be tried
by the court and be imprisoned for 20 to 30 years or life. You see, the Royal decree
which provides a pardon to Ieng Sary is based on two factors: one is the verdict
of 1979 which put a death sentence on Ieng Sary and the second one is the legislation
which outlawed the Khmer Rouge. [But] if Ieng Sary continues with the secession,
he could be tried in accordance with Article 4 of the legislation which outlawed
the Khmer Rouge [article 4 refers to "anyone" who conducts secession] and
in that case he would be imprisoned for 20-30 years or his whole life. The decision
by Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh and myself came into force yesterday and
was sent to the defectors today. You see, we are very flexible with regard to the
peace problem but we are very firm with regard to sovereignty, unity and territory.
So they do not have any possibility to delay. The rank-and-file, they would like
themselves to be integrated as soon as possible. Ieng Sary seems to think that all
Khmer Rouge defectors are under his control, which I feel is a misunderstanding.
It seems that he would like to form a third force to bargain with the government.
The government will not allow this to happen and any defectors who would like to
integrate first would be accepted by the government and then we will accept all the
forces, so that Ieng Sary will have nothing. We are not waiting for Ieng Sary to
come along with all the defectors, but we accept anyone who would like to come to
Post: The statement that you received requesting that Pailin
become an automous zone, it is your belief that the statement was given with the
approval of Ieng Sary?
Hun Sen: This is contrary or different from what the [government and breakaway
KR] military has been working together on... At the divisional level, they were not
aware of this. But this statement came from Long Norin, the assistant of Ieng Sary,
so it might be true that this statement has been issued with the approval of Ieng
Sary. So we can see the difference between the defections from the military and the
politicians. The military side, they would like a quick integration, whereas on the
political side they would like to form a force and make it into a springboard for
a higher role. Today we did not invite Long Norin to come to [the meeting in] Battambang
because we don't want to involve our work with him. But this morning...I was told
by Minister of Defence Tea Banh that Long Norin asked to come to Battambang too.
We approved him coming to Battambang so that he could take our decision to Ieng Sary
to implement it. We would like to work with the military who were at the battlefield,
who were with the people. We don't want anyone to make use of this force for their
own political reasons. They are not entitled to do that. They cannot form their secession
and control a part of the country, that's against our Constitution...
German reporter: Why did you press for the amnesty?
Hun Sen: The question here relates to both military and political aspects.
We don't want Ieng Sary not to have the ability to work his way out - if he could
even help himself, how could he help the others? The question is related to the other
forces, not to Ieng Sary alone. According to the government's proposal, the King
was very favorable so that we could provide a possibility for Ieng Sary to lead the
force to be integrated into the government. I would like to stress that the pardon
provided to Ieng Sary is not just for Ieng Sary but to solve the peace problem and
put an end to the war.
German reporter: Ieng Sary claims he's not guilty for the killing fields.
Do you believe that?
Hun Sen: For me, I don't believe him because it took a long period of time
[for him to split from the KR]. They have been together since the 60s until almost
the late 90s: if there was a real split, it would have been long before this. At
least...the killings, they should accept it as a crime. So I don't believe that Ieng
Sary is not responsible for the crimes in Cambodia. He himself also said that he
was also responsible for it because he was among the leaders. You can then ask why
should I provide him a pardon? My answer would be the same - it's for peace. Because
Ieng Sary is related to the defectors' forces.
German reporter: What do you say to the critics who say that in giving
amnesty to Ieng Sary, questions of morals and justice are denied?
Hun Sen: I would like to explain to you a bit more detail on this question
so that we can understand each other. I do not understand that before this they rejected
our demands. They did not recognize the 1979 verdict. After he was sentenced in Phnom
Penh, he went to New York to deliver speeches. What does that mean? He delivered
a speech at the [UN] General Assembly in 1979, 80, 81 - three years.
Why did Interpol or New York Police not arrest him and send him back to us? What
is the reality then? It has to be changed according to the political situation: when
there is political demand for support of Ieng Sary, they say that Ieng Sary did not
commit any crime. Then they say the other way, in different circumstances. The pardon
provided to Ieng Sary does not mean that we put an end to the trial for the crime
of genocide in Cambodia. If you study the wording of the Royal [amnesty], you will
see that there is still the possibility to try the crimes committed by Ieng Sary.
Samdech Krom Preah gave me the job the write this Royal decree, with his consultation...
We paid much attention to the wording of the pardon, and there are two points to
consider: the first is that we based it on the 1979 court verdict; the second is
that we based it on the legislation which outlaw the Khmer Rouge - there are no words
in it which ban the accusation of Ieng Sary in front of a court which may be formed
in the coming times. Therefore we should speed up the investigation of the crimes
of Pol Pot so that we can bring all those responsible to justice. And then if Ieng
Sary can get rid of being accused, at least he can become a witness because he has
much evidence. So we should speed up the investigation into the [crimes] of Pol Pot.
Post: The funding of the Cambodian Genocide Program is currently
in danger for the future. Would you support the continuance of the program and, if
they find evidence against Ieng Sary, would you support putting him to trial?
Hun Sen: The program for the investigation of the crimes of genocide in
Cambodia, if there is any decrease to that, it would be financially, not on the activities
itself. So I would like to appeal to the government in Washington and other governments
that they increase their financial support to the program. I feel that we should
help this program be completed as soon as possible by way of providing more financial
support. If Ieng Sary is found to be guilty, would I support bringing him to justice?
I say that I would support that 100 percent. He himself said that he did not commit
any crime. But if it is found out that he did commit, he has to come to justice...
The Royal [amnesty] is based on two statements issued by Ieng Sary. In his statements
he denied his involvement in the crime of genocide. If, after invesitgation, it is
found out that he was involved, it means that his statements would become meaningless.
I think that if he was courageous enough to issue such statements, he would not be
afraid of the court. And so he will come to the court, and I support him going to
German reporter: Why did you not want the National Assembly to debate the
Hun Sen: First it relates to the Constitution, which clearly stipulates
that amnesties to be provided by the King to anyone are not subject to debate by
the National Assembly. I feel that if you are us, then you will see what should be
done. If you are the King, you would see what should be done. The King, he would
like to have a support petititon from two-thirds of the [National Assembly] deputies.
The two Prime Ministers believe that we will gather more than two-thirds support.
At the same time, we do not object to any petition which opposes the pardon. I feel
that this is enough... We feel that this is also a political umbrella which will
protect both the King and the Prime Ministers. If there was [National Assembly] debate,
then everything would not be secret. The secrets of the government, the secrets of
the military, would be out. Then we could not hide our ideas of what we are going
to do...it means we cannot strike the snake, for example, but destroy all the bush.
Therefore, we do not want this way.... did Clinton ask the permission from the National
Assembly before he fired cruise missiles into Baghdad?
Post: The statement relayed today to [Ieng Sary aide] Long Norin,
does that give a deadline for the terrorities of Pailin and Malai to be handed over
to government control?
Hun Sen: We did not put an ultimatum to them, because the defections do
not happen only in Pailin or Malai, but all around the country. We do not impose
any deadline, but we have to carry this out as quickly as possible.
Post: If the negotiations are not successful within one month,
two months, three months, are you prepared to fight the forces of Ieng Sary and the
forces of Pol Pot?
Hun Sen: Cambodia has to be united at any price we have to pay for that.
If this peace process did not succeed, then we will have the other way to succeed.
[But] I believe the peace process, the speed it has been going, is good. It would
be a wrong assessment of Ieng Sary if he thinks of a delay- he will have nothing.
Ieng Sary, who has relations with Pol Pot, [has] betrayed Pol Pot. And do you think
that those rank-and-file who disagree with Ieng Sary are willing to continue to live
in the jungle?
Post: If necessary you are prepared to sacrifice your negotiations with Ieng Sary
and concentrate on negotiating defections of rank-and-file soldiers?
Hun Sen: You can be convinced by our decision, which did not pay attention
to Ieng Sary. In the last article of yesterday's decision we [initially] put in the
people to implement it, including Ieng Sary. But Samdech Krom Preah requested to
take out Ieng Sary's name, because if he does not carry it out, it's up to him. So
we did not pay attention to what Ieng Sary wants, but we would like to pay attention
to the people living in that area. Because the real fighters are those who are on
Post: What are you prepared to give to the people living in those areas... police
and military positions at a more junior level?
Hun Sen: We have established a [policy] of providing them with ranks according
to what they used to have [in the KR]. This morning at Battambang, we are thinking
of who would do what type of job. But I can stress that they would not have the rank
in the General Staff [of the army]... The highest rank they could have is deputy
commander of the region, like the rank we have given to [KR defector] Keo Pong in
Oral district. The ranks are to be provided to the actual men who play important
roles in this process. We are not considering giving a role to the politicians, we
do not consider giving them roles in civil administration.
Post: Are you prepared to allow a political party led
by Ieng Sary or by his senior followers?
German reporter: If I can add a further question to that, a lot of people feel there
could be a... new authoritorian government formed by the Khmer Rouge and the CPP?
Hun Sen: People are entitled to think whatever they like. When you talk
human rights, people must have the right to think. About Ieng Sary and others who
would maybe like to form a political party, I think if they integrate themselves
into society and live like other people, they are entitled to form political parties
if they so wish. But exclusively for Ieng Sary, whether he is able to form a party,
we have to think of the legal form. We have to think of the legal form for a person
who has been sentenced and then pardoned, whether he is entitled to form a party
or not. And to be a candidate for election, we have to verify the criteria to be
a candidate and I don't think he will fulfill all that criteria. I feel that Ieng
Sary will not do that, but there's a possibility that he will stand behind someone
who does do that. If you ask about the others, they must have their right to do that.
We do not have any law which bans them from forming political parties. The concern
that the Khmer Rouge might join the CPP and form a totatalarian left-wing movement
- that is impossible.... The Khmer Rouge and the CPP have been fighting each other
continuously. We never join the KR... I don't think the CPP can make any profit from
this. The CPP still celebrates the 7th of January, the day when we liberated the
people from the Pol Pot regime, and the 20th of May, which we consider the day of
hate against the Pol Pot genocide. And the system of pluralism cannot be retreated
from. I don't believe that totalarianism can be forced upon this country. No party
can use the cannon to control the country.
Post: You mentioned the importance of 7th of January and the
20th of May to yourself and your party. It must have been with some reluctance that
you decided to support the granting of amnesty to
Ieng Sary: Are you sure all of your party supports that decision?
Hun Sen: We suffered very much from the Khmer Rouge. The braveness of CPP
to provide a pardon to Ieng Sary is [because] of its concern for the living people.
It is a big point that CPP would not like to see any more deaths to Cambodians. There
remains only the access for them to integrate. If there is any sentence, I'm afraid
that Ieng Sary cannot avoid it. Because of this point, that makes us courageous enough
- first because of the peace and, secondly, because of the possibility that he may
German reporter: Suppose Pol Pot would offer an agreement to
you. Would you consider amnesty for Pol Pot?
Hun Sen: I do not have such a belief. And if it happens, then you can come
and ask me again. I think there's no need for us to think about how many kilograms
of fish to bake or fry while the fish are still in the water. To me, I think it would
be very hard for Pol Pot. You see, almost 80 percent of the Khmer Rouge has defected...he
is left with nothing to make a gift to the government in exchange [for amnesty].
German reporter: Are you negotiating with Pol Pot?
Hun Sen: According to the legislation which outlaws the Khmer Rouge, we
are not entitled to talk or carry out negotiations with Pol Pot's military or political
organization. The fact that we talk to Ieng Sary and the defectors is because [they]
cut themselves from Pol Pot. [Other KR], they have to defect from the Pol Pot military
and political organization. If they are still within the Pol Pot military and political
organization, we will not talk to them.
Post: The Khmer Rouge is well known for their anti-Vietnamese
sentiment. One would presume there may be concern on the part of Vietnam about what
is happening in Cambodia now?
Hun Sen: I do not know the feeling of Vietnam but if they see the situation
in general, it should not be of their concern. Why can I say that? Because the question
of Vietnam is Vietnam: they need to develop their country, Vietnam, they defend their
country, Vietnam. So what happens in Cambodia is the problem of Cambodia, it's the
question of Cambodia. This is really outside of what we could talk about. We do not
know their feelings.
German reporter: What do you say to people who say Cambodia is
a Mafia state?
Hun Sen: You may have listened to a man I will not name here.... after
being expelled from the government he says the Kingdom is going toward a Mafia state.
Do you think America would support a Mafia state? Why has it just granted Cambodia
MFN status? We are now thanking President Clinton, thanking the Senate and the Congress
and the people of America for granting MFN status.
German reporter: But Cambodia still has no independent judiciary, it has no Constitutional
court, your party is controlling the army, the police, the civil service. This seems
like a very authoritian system?
Hun Sen: That is just your viewpoint. You can call it by yourself. I feel that you
have to stay another two years in Cambodia to say whether it is totalitarian or it
is the Cambodian way of democracy.
German reporter: The elections: why don't you allow Sam Rainsy's
Hun Sen: It is a big misundertanding and I feel that there is no justice
in this world, especially no justice for Cambodia from the western world. Have you
ever heard me saying that Sam Rainsy's party is illegal? On the contrary, I say that
Sam Rainsy's party is legal. But no-one listens to that. It means that my words have
not been heeded. I even compare Sam Rainsy's party to a baby which has already been
born. So it's just a question of registering. Today, no party has any what we [could]
call a birth certificate, because we have no law on parties. We continue to use the
out-of-date law of UNTAC. I speak again, Sam Rainsy's party is legal. It has already
been established, even though we did not want it to be established, it has already
been established. I think it's just a block from here and you reach Sam Rainsy's
party office. It is close to the two Prime Ministers' houses and the Royal palace.
If Sam Rainsy's party is illegal, how could he carry out his activities for almost
a year? What is that - is it illegal or legal? I think justice should be given to
Post: You're saying that as the Second Prime Minister, you consider
the Khmer Nation Party to be completely legal, to have the legal right to conduct
political activities, to open offices everywhere, including in Saang district, and
to face no action from any government forces?
Hun Sen: What would you really like to ask me?... His party can contest
the elections, he can even prepare himself to be a candidate for the commune elections.
The electoral law will allow every party to have equal rights in the elections. And
I also have information that within Sam Rainsy's party, he has already formed a committee
to select candidates for the commune elections. Mr Kong Koam, deputy president, signed
that as the acting president with the absence of Sam Rainsy - to form a committee
to select the candidates for the commune elections. Why are they doing that? Are
they doing that illegally or legally? I have even seen their [candidate] list. Have
I ever been telling those people not to do that? They are entitled to join the election.
German reporter: What kind of model for a government do you have
in mind for Cambodia. Are there any countries that you can say 'that kind of government
I would like to have'?
Hun Sen: First we have to talk about what is important for Cambodia. Political
stability is the most important thing for Cambodia. Therefore, it was my thinking
since 1987 that Cambodia needs a coalition government. That was...the time when I
led a movement toward a peaceful solution for Cambodia. When we call it a political
solution, it means we cannot avoid a coalition government. In this first term we
have a coalition government with two Prime Ministers, which is unique.... the two
Prime Minister system will come to an end with this first term. But for me, we have
been talking already within our party that Cambodia needs a coalition government
at least for another 10 to 15 years. Even though there would not be a two Prime Minister
government like today, we still need a coalition government. I plan that if CPP wins
the elections, I will prepare for five deputy prime ministers. I prepare these positions
for some political parties. This way, I would like to mobilize all the forces, material
and mental, for the development of the nation. I have cherished this idea for a decade
and I will not abandon this idea if I am still in control of CPP. Coalition government
is the future for Cambodia.
German reporter: You want to co-opt all the other parties into
the Government so you have no real opposition?
Hun Sen: In Cambodia, there are three trends. The first trend is to integrate
all parties into only one, and this trend seemed to be strong in the years of 1993/94.
I call this trend a long-way retreat, because we are now applying pluralism. Why
is there some thinking of forming only one party? I feel this is a type of retreat
which is also impossible. The second trend is that you have many parties but they
cooperate with each other in the Malaysian way. The third trend is to have many parties
but opposing each other. I prefer the second trend and to a certain extent the third
trend. It means that parties can apply the democratic way by cooperation or also
by way of opposition. If we have 10 parties in the National Assembly, it's a type
of cooperation. But if we have only seven parties in the government, leaving three
outside, it's also the democratic way.
Post: You will be aware that there is some talk in Phnom Penh,
and Samdech Krom Preah Prince Ranariddh has referred to this, about a meeting in
early August of the CPP at which it is alleged a strategy toward the 1998 election
was discussed, and that this strategy included vote-buying and other improper acts.
Can you respond to this?
Hun Sen: I also read that article in the Phnom Penh Post which refers to
the meeting of the 6th of August of 1996. But I could not find in my notebook any
such a meeting on that day. I cannot understand, I am the deputy chairman of the
CPP and have been instructed to manage all the work within the CPP. I'm also the
chairman of the CPP electoral committee. But I did not know of any such thing, who
held that meeting? I requested my colleagues to find the paper, the documents and
find out who held such a thing. You see, [there was] a weekly meeting of the CPP,
[where] we talked only about the appointment of CPP officals in the country. I led
[another] meeting during the last few weeks, and then we talked about the electoral
system. We talked about the King's idea of a mixed system of 50 percent single representation
and 50 percent proportional representation. Then, Samdech Chea Sim was leading a
delegation to Australia, so he entrusted me to convene a meeting to discuss about
this system of election. So the dicussion focussed mainly on the electoral system,
to consider the ideas of the King... it relates to the electoral law which is being
drafted by the Ministry of Interior.
To date we did not decide on which system is to be used, but [we are] allowing
a sub committee to discuss to find out which are the good and strong points of each
system. It would be a good point [to] allow half to be single representation and
half to be proportional representation, which deserves consideration. [But] we have
also to think about the expenditure that it will require to hold this type of election.
[And if] we have such a voting, it might create chaos within the people. So we are
still in the process of considering the ideas of the King and have not yet come to
any conclusion. So I cannot locate the note which I made for the meeting of the 6th
of August, so I would like to tell you that it is untrue. It could be a creation
of some people so that some other parties might misunderstand CPP, because they will
profit from the difference that would occur between CPP and Funcinpec. CPP and Funcinpec
will not profit from the conflict. It is the Khmer Rouge and the opposition party
that will benefit from the conflict between the two main parties. Samdech Krom Preah
and I know this problem very well. The King is also very convinced of this problem.
So we try to overcome all these difficulties and try to maintain good relations.
You see, conflict puts me in difficulty, but cooperation puts me in a good mood.
Yesterday Samdech Krom Preah talked to me on the phone and ask me to draft this [decision
on the breakaway KR]. So I finished it and sent it to him for his consideration.
Some documents, some papers, Samdech Krom Preah sends to me for consideration. Is
this is not good coooperation? What we would like to have is to make the best work,
so that we can cooperate with each other. We rely on each other's opinions, each
other's ideas. So, such a creation is an attempt to create conflict between Hun Sen
and Ranariddh, and within CPP and Funcinpec. Within CPP, I was really respected by
my colleagues, and I also repsect Samdech Chea Sim. They cannot do anything to Chea
Sim without my knowledge. If Hun Sen and Chea Sim did not realize such a meeting,
who knows about it?
Post: On the matter of Funcinpec-CPP relations, powersharing
at the district level was the issue in March that led Samdech Krom Preah to make
public some complaints about CPP. Is the issue of powersharing back on the agenda
for negotiations between CPP and Funcinpec now?
Hun Sen: It has now become the past. It has not been taken up for talks
again. In one of my meetings with Samdech Krom Preah, he mentioned that he will not
mention again that question. I also mentioned this question [should be] done in an
administrative way. You see, if we are short of five district chiefs, then we have
to take in 20 candidates [to sit] exams for the positions. This way is more pragamatic
for the administration. I would like to stress that it is the past and it is no more
the subject of discussion.
German reporter: Critics say some international aid is being
spent not on the country but in the pockets of the government. The allegations of
corruption, you are a powerful man, can't you do anything about it?
Hun Sen: First we have to think of the international assistance, whether
it is related to the corruption of the government officials or not. There was the
allegation that we have been putting international assistance into the pockets. But
you are from Germany... you have provided us assistance, but not money [directly]
to us. How could we put it in our pocket? You see the assistance for National Route
4 from America - the tender was organized by America, the management is also by America.
The Japanese assistance in the form of the road, the bridge...is also organized by
the Japanese. They did not even allow Cambodian companies to participate.
German reporter: But there's still the logging going on against
Hun Sen: Allow me to inform you first. I will tell you all you would like
to know. I just divide the subjects: first, what is called the international assistance
going into the pockets of people. If you say there is corruption within international
assistance, we can completely reject that. If there is any corruption within the
international assistance, it must be within the foreigners who control the money.
Because Ranariddh, Hun Sen nor Keat Chhon have all this money in their hands. The
international organizations working in Cambodia, they control the finances. The second
aspect, related to the timber business: this timber business is a headache topic.
We can no longer use the satellite map of Cambodia made in 1992/93 because then they
showed a lot of forest which does not exist now. There is really anarchy within this.
Through this, corruption also emerges. Therefore, the government takes new measures
in management and exportation of timber. You say that I am a powerful man, why I
cannot put an end to this? A strong man cannot do anything. You need strong men throughout
the country. This is what we are now working on together: the eradication of poverty,
increasing the knowledge of the people, that's what we need to do. We have to make
enough laws, we have to have the human resources, so that we can turn our country
into a state of law.
German reporter: You claim that a lot of people have tried to
kill you. Who are your enemies?
Hun Sen: So far I have sent two letters to the American Embassy here in
Phnom Penh. [The information] came from Long Beach in America, and they said the
information they got is from Canada. I do not understand, I do not know who it is.
There is the letter sent by the Khmer Republican Committee in Long Beach to their
committee in Phnom Penh. The Republican committee in Phnom Penh let it out intentionally
so that I know about it. In that letter, they seem to accept that I am the pillar
of stability in this country. In their letter, they advise their people in Phnom
Penh that if Hun Sen were killed, then they have to flee to the US embassy in Phnom
Penh or to Bangkok. We got this letter, and we sent it to the US embassy in Phnom
Penh and later we got another and we did the same. You see, I cannot say who is my
enemy... we cannot say before an investigation finds it out. And it is beyond our
ability to carry out this investigation; maybe we have to rely on Interpol or the
source of the information. Even in Phnom Penh, there is still such an [assassination]
attempt, but I do not know who is doing it. The investigation is still underway.
Sometimes I feel they create such a thing to threaten me, or sometimes maybe it is
their intention to anger me, so that I will make a mistake, for example the order
to arrest this or that person, which might create a problem.
Post: What is your view of the possibility of Prince Sirivudh
being granted amnesty and being allowed to return to Cambodia?
Hun Sen: I did not prepare myself to consider this question. One should
not link this case to that of Ieng Sary. Otherwise we will create some bad habits
of doing anything at will. It seems that there is an attempt to link the case of
Ieng Sary to that of Sirivudh, Chakrapong, Sin Song, Sin Sen. I feel it is not logical
at all to include separate cases in a package. One case is related to peace and war,
that is the case of Ieng Sary. Another case relates to the coup d'état, and
the other case to an assassination attempt. If we link every case to one another,
it means we have to release all the thieves, all the people who commit crimes, from
all the prisons. And then we have to destroy all the prisons, and put an end to the
courts. And then anyone can carry out a coup d'état with impunity and anyone
will come back to Cambodia and altogether form a coup d'état. That should
not be difficult for anyone: if you win in a coup d'état, then you will have
power, if you lose it, you will still have impunity... if you win, you can become
the president of the state, if you lose, you can still remain a humble person. That
would be no different from the case in... Malawi. I used to meet the president of
Malawi...who used to be the chief of the bodyguards and then he staged a coup d'état
and won and became the president of the state... It is not a joke at all and it also
related to foreigners who came to do it too. I used to joke "Welcome to Cambodia
to stage a coup". With impunity, it is so easy... so if Norodom Sirivudh could
receive amnesty, then no measure could be taken. Anyone could threaten anyone at
will. Then you will take it as a joke. It was lucky that it did not happen. if it
really happened, I would be the Rabin of Israel already. So should we wait until
it happens like Rabin of Israel before we can take action? So I think one should
not put different cases into the same package, otherwise I will demand all prisons
be destroyed, and we would remain quiet to anyone who would like to stage a coup
d'état... You see because of this coup attempt [in 1994]...within 48 hours,
I could only have two hours rest.
Post: The case of You Hockry, and the request that has been made by the court prosecutor
for Parliamentary immunity to be lifted to allow an investigation. Would you support
the lifting of his immunity?
Hun Sen: I feel I should not comment on this because it seems to be a complicated
situation. It also happens at a time when we have to be more concerned about the
situation in Pailin and Malai, so I give more of my attention to that. At the same
time, there seems to be too many letters exchanged, so I feel I have to stand afar.
But I feel that if it is required by the court, we should respect the rights of the
court. I feel that one should cleanse oneself in the court, rather than allow oneself
to continue to be accused. Me, the same. If there's something not clear with me,
I would like to clear myself in the court. If someone complains about me over something,
I have to go to the court. They can lift my immunity, and if they try me and find
me to be guilty, they can imprison me. But if I did nothing wrong, I would be given
back the immunity. Lifting the immunity does not mean that you committed a crime.
It is just to open the way so that the court can work on people with immunity. This
is my principle opinion, not related to the case of You Hockry... please don't link
my principle opinion to the case of You Hockry. Leave me to one side, and then I
[will] look at the question. I don't want this to be misunderstood as a political
problem between CPP and Funcinpec. My concern is that people will have such an idea.
You may know my nature, I do not concern myself with this or that party. You may
know who is Mr Chakrapong, Sin Song and Sin Sen. They are CPP leaders. and who arrested
them - it was me. I did not think of the party, I thought of the law, so they can
understand Hun Sen clearly. It is not the party, or politics, but it is a question
of the law. So you may understand that people think the court is under my power.
It's not true. Even me, I will allow myself to go to the court if it is requested
or required by the court....It is my principle position, not only for the others,
but even for myself.