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No word on inquests into unionists’ killings

A memorial to slain Free Trade Union president Chea Vichea in 2010.
A memorial to slain Free Trade Union president Chea Vichea in 2010. Sovan Philong

No word on inquests into unionists’ killings

Fast approaching six months since its creation, a special commission to investigate the cold-case killings of three union figures, including Free Trade Union president Chea Vichea, has nothing to report.

The commission, led by 14 high-ranking officials, was established in late June to probe the deaths of Vichea, assassinated in January 2004, and FTU factory presidents Ros Sovannareth and Hy Vuthy, shot dead in 2004 and 2007.

Contacted this week, the commission’s head, Interior Ministry Secretary of State Em Sam An, said the investigation was progressing but would not elaborate further.

“We can not yet release information to the public as the committee has not yet made a conclusion . . . We are still collecting more information and the Labour Ministry Secretary of State Mam Vanak has been working with the [International Labour Organization] but I have not received a report from him yet because I have just returned from abroad.”

Authorities have long faced local and international pressure to bring the perpetrators to justice for the slayings, which have been linked to the trio’s union activities.

In all cases, men convicted of the crimes – widely considered scapegoats – were ultimately released due to a lack of evidence.

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