Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rainsy absent from ‘autonomy’ deal trial




Rainsy absent from ‘autonomy’ deal trial

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Sam Rainsy speaks in Phnom Penh after returning from self-imposed exiled in 2013. Heng Chivoan

Rainsy absent from ‘autonomy’ deal trial

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court said on Monday that Sam Rainsy missed a court date on a treason charge after agreeing to let Vietnamese ethnic minorities settle in Cambodia’s northeastern provinces with “autonomy”.

The former leader of the court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) was summonsed by Phnom Penh Municipal Court investigating judge Ros Piseth to appear on August 13.

However, on Monday Piseth said Rainsy had failed to turn up in court and had not given a reason for his absence.

“We did not receive any response [from Rainsy]. We will proceed with the next step of the process, which I cannot reveal because it’s against the law for me to do so,” Piseth said.

Rainsy has been living in France since late 2015 to avoid a slew of criminal charges.

Monday’s court date stemmed from a video clip showing him and the president of the Montagnard Foundation, Kok Ksor, signing an agreement to let Montagnard minorities settle with “autonomy” in Cambodia’s northeastern provinces of Kratie, Ratanakkiri, Mondulkiri and Stung Treng.

The video was filmed in 2013, and in the clip Rainsy claims that the Montagnard people supported the CNRP.

The court charged him in March with “attempting to deliver to a foreign state, whole or part of national territory” in accordance with Articles 27 and 440 of the Criminal Code. The charge could see him sentenced to life in prison should he be found guilty.

In an email on Monday, Rainsy claimed the charge against him was brought by “ignorant” and “unprofessional” people.

“Hun Sen and the judges at his Kangaroo Court are ignorant people, really unprofessional on this issue (and many others) [Rainsy’s brackets]. “They have never read the United Nations (UN) Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as adopted by the world body in 2007.

“I only referred to this Declaration when dealing with ethnic minorities in Cambodia’s Northeast. For this UN reference they accuse me of ‘treason’!” he claimed.

In 2013, Rainsy met with pro-Montagnard activist Ksor and, mostly quoting from the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, he promised a degree of “autonomy” to the ethnic groups should his now-dissolved party win power.

Prime Minister Hun Sen and other government officials interpreted that meeting as an agreement to cede the four provinces to the Montagnards, something Rainsy has denied.

Mountain people’

Montagnards is an umbrella term meaning “mountain people” that includes several ethnic minority groups stretching from Vietnam’s central highlands into northeastern Cambodia. It includes the Ksor’s Jarai people.

Hundreds of Vietnamese Montagnards have fled to Cambodia from Vietnam in the past few years seeking asylum from persecution.

MOST VIEWED

  • Body of woman killed in Bangkok returns

    The Cambodian embassy in Thailand is working to repatriate the body of a casino dealer who was shot dead in Bangkok on Monday night. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesman Kuy Kuong told The Post on Wednesday that officials are preparing paperwork to

  • Chikungunya hits 15 provinces, says gov’t

    Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said on Thursday that the chikungunya outbreak in the Kingdom has spread to 15 provinces. Some 1,700 people are now suspected to have the disease. Vandine urged people to prevent its further spread by eliminating shelters for the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes

  • Gov’t exempts visa A and B holders from Covid fees

    Airline passengers who are diplomats and officials of international organisations holding Type A and B visas for travel to Cambodia are exempted from paying Covid-19 testing fees, said the Ministry of Health in its latest adjustment of rules on Wednesday. Health Minister Mam Bun Heng

  • Bill covering dress code draws ire

    Ministry of Interior secretary of state Ouk Kim Lek responded on Tuesday to criticism concerning a draft law that would ban women from wearing overly revealing clothing, saying that input from all parties will be considered as the law moves through the promulgation process. Several

  • Passing the test: Is Cambodia’s education system failing its people?

    The Kingdom’s education system needs to grow its people but some flaws might stifle​ this growth Coming from the Khmer Rouge occupation, with the loss of many scholars and academicians and a collapsed government, the education system had to be reconstructed from scratch – one

  • What’s the deal with Cambodia and China’s FTA?

    Cambodia’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China kicks off a series of FTAs in future but for now, critics wonder what else the parties could bring to the table apart from what it already has to date By the end of this year, Cambodia