PRIME Minister Hun Sen has told diplomats from France, Britain and Australia that
he has ordered the immediate arrest of former Khmer Rouge commander Chhouk Rin for
his part in the abduction of their nationals from a train in 1994.
Diplomatic sources said the meeting took place about three weeks ago. Hun Sen is
understood to have said he would have Rin arrested but not his then-commander Sam
Bit who is currently an RCAF general.
Sam Bit on the other hand has maintained a good relationship with the Government
and assisted in the negotiations for the defections at Anlong Veng and Samlot.
But despite the Prime Minister's assurances no moves have been made against Rin who
now lives as a farmer in Kampot with his former soldiers and their families.
Rin lead the attack on a train moving through Kampot on which the three foreigners
- Frenchman Jean-Michel Braquet, Briton Mark Slater and Australian David Wilson
- were travelling.
Rin has always maintained his part in their abductions ended with the attack on the
train and he did not kill them.
The three men were taken from the train and held on Phnom Vour, then a KR stronghold.
Attempts were made by Funcinpec to negotiate the men's release at the same time CPP
military launched an assault on the KR base.
The men were eventually killed as the fighting closed in.
Rin has also said that he was granted immunity from prosecution when he became the
first of the Khmer Rouge leaders to defect to the Government bringing his troops
and followers with them.
Diplomats from the three nations have maintained low key but constant pressure on
the Government to try Rin and Bit following the successful prosecution of Nuon Paet
in June this year.
Paet had been charged with being an accomplice to murder, kidnapping, robbery, terrorism
and destruction of state property.
Part of the targetting of Rin over Bit is probably due to the political alliances
of each man. Rin has maintained a low profile and has stayed with his people in Kampot.
His apparent independence exemplified by his supporters voting for the Sam Rainsy
Party during the national election has apparently upset senior members of the Government.
Meanwhile it appears Hun Sen might have acted prematurly in his comments to the ambassadors.
Investigating judge for the case, Yet Charya, said this week he was not in a position
to issue arrest warants because he did not have enough evidence.
However at the time of the Nuon Paet trial Charya said that he was preparing charges
for an additional 10 people in connection with the killings.
Australian Ambassador Malcolm Leader was reluctant to comment on the case other than
to say they have always expected that those responsible for the deaths would be brought