Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Public figures weigh in on prison term

Public figures weigh in on prison term

Public figures weigh in on prison term

AS coverage of Monday’s verdict at the Khmer Rouge tribunal was beamed across the world, some of the Kingdom’s most prominent political figures weighed in on the landmark ruling.

Speaking at Phnom Penh International Airport upon his return from Singapore with a delegation led by Prime Minister Hun Sen, Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong called the judgment “inappropriate”.

“Thousands and thousands of Cambodian people were tortured at Tuol Sleng and brought to be killed at Choeung Ek,” Hor Namhong said. “This sentence seems light and unsuitable compared with the number of people who have been killed.”

He added that he was only expressing his personal view, as the government’s official stance was to respect the independent judgment of the court.
The opposition Sam Rainsy Party agreed that the sentence was lighter than expected, but praised the court’s achievement nonetheless.

“Although falling short of what many survivors and families had hoped for, the verdict today is a first step toward accountability and healing,” the SRP said in a statement. It also said that it supported further prosecutions of Khmer Rouge leaders. Hun Sen has publicly expressed his opposition to prosecutions beyond the court’s second case, warning that they could plunge the country back into “civil war”.

Prince Sisowath Thomico, assistant to King Father Norodom Sihanouk, called the proceedings at the court “politically biased” and “a masquerade”.

“I … would like to warmly praise all the participants, most of all the foreign participants in that media show,” he said in an email. “I just can’t wait to watch the next episode of that prime-time political series.”

Hun Sen himself has not yet commented publicly on the verdict, but Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan called it “a historical point”. He did not comment on the substance of the judgment, but said that the tribunal is “an independent body [that] we have to respect”.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY NETH PHEAKTRA

MOST VIEWED

  • Ethnic group ‘disappointed’ to be denied French visas to attend court

    Eleven people at the centre of a case involving seven indigenous Bunong villages in Mondulkiri province pursuing legal action in France have expressed disappointment after the French embassy in Phnom Penh denied their visa applications to attend court. A press release said the 11 included a

  • Cambodia nabs 12th place in best retirement destinations

    Cambodia is an expatriate hotspot for those dreaming of living a more luxurious lifestyle at an affordable cost, according to International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2019. For the fourth year in a row, Cambodia took the top spot in the Cost of Living category.

  • EU starts EBA withdrawal

    The EU on Monday announced that it has begun the 18-month process of withdrawing the Kingdom’s access to its preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement over “a deterioration of democracy [and] respect for human rights”. However, the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) said

  • PM: War result of foreign meddling

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Sunday that Cambodia’s recent history of conflict was caused by foreign interference. “The wars that happened were caused by provocation, incitement, support, smearing and interference from foreign powers, and the group of ignorant people who pushed Cambodia to