Thursday, 20 March 2008

International Community Must Rein Down Hun Sen

“The international community, especially the donor countries, must use their aid and political leverage to rein down Hun Sen. If he is allowed a free rein then he will be unstoppable.”

Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Courtesy of Khmerization :

Editorial by Khmerization:

The events in the Cambodian political landscape in the last few days don’t look promising for a free and fair election. It is looking even unimaginable for a smooth transition, if the opposition wins. In fact it is looking uglier by the day (read the links below).

First comes the surprised and the CPP-facilitated defection of the publisher of the pro-opposition Sralanh Khmer newspaper, Thach Ket. And starting from the 16th, with the arrests of the Sam Rainsy Party officials, namely Tout Sarorn, Huor Sarath and Men Vannak, which was aided and abetted by the once champion of democracy turned a political monster, Sok Pheng, who now is probably the most hated man in the Sam Rainsy Party, the balance of the political landscape is swiftly tipping.Here, we see that Prime Minister Hun Sen is preaching one thing and is actually practising another thing. Case in point, the prime minister has appealed to his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) members not to engage in political violence and intimidation but with his order to Sok Pheng to orchestrate the arrests of the above-mentioned Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) officials, proved that the PM did not mean what he said and is not sincere in his appeals.

While the charges of kidnapping against the above-named SRP officials was not convincing, one must remember that Hun Sen had used these tricks successfully many times before. In the rightful mind of any rational persons, what the officials did was what any reasonable persons would have done- and that is to help a colleague, in this case is Mrs Tim Norn, find a sanctuary from the possible malicious revenge attacks from the CPP for her double-crossing them.

The trouble came for Mrs. Tim Norn when she defected to the CPP along with Sok Pheng. Later she was given $200 by Sok Pheng and his wife to entice more potential defectors from the SRP. She was not successful is doing so and by spending all the $200 given by Sok Pheng’s wife without having successfully done the job, she wanted to return to the SRP and began to fear for reprisal. Fearing for her life that Sok Pheng and his CPP death squad might do to her she asked the three SRP officials mentioned above to help her escape a possible assassination. That was when her ordeal begun and so the arrests of the three officials.

I feel very sad for Sok Pheng, who was once, as I mentioned earlier, a champion of democracy. It is unimaginable that such a fine young politician had turned into a political monster deserving condemnation in the strongest term. He had not only sold himself out to the CPP but he had also sold out his wife to become a CPP monster in which the CPP will use as a political tool to conduct a political witch hunt against his former colleagues from the SRP. This is a really cheap politics by any standard.

Coming back to the accusations against the three SRP officials, it doesn‘t need to take a genius to see that the charges are invented and politically motivated. In a full functional democracy Sok Pheng and Hun Sen will be charged with interfering in the democratic process by forcing someone, in this case Mrs. Tim Norn, to join the CPP against their will.

With the political trends moving toward a tense political atmosphere, the promise that the election will be free and fair is a remote possibility and is looking grim by the day. Hun Sen’s appeals for his supporters not to engage in political intimidation and violence is just a window dressing designed for political and diplomatic consumption to hypnotise the international community. The international community, especially the donor countries, must use their aid and political leverage to rein down Hun Sen. If he is allowed a free rein then he will be unstoppable.

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