Posted on 23 June 2009
The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 618
The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 618
“Phnom Penh: The National Assembly of the Kingdom of Cambodia decided to remove the immunity of two parliamentarians from the opposition party on 22 June 2009.
“The two opposition party parliamentarians, whose immunity was removed at the same time, are a parliamentarian from Kampot, Ms. Mu Sochua, and a parliamentarian from Phnom Penh, Mr. Ho Vann. The Immunity of these two parliamentarians was withdrawn officially on 22 June 2009, in order to open the way for the courts to continue legal procedures regarding complaints of Prime Minister Hun Sen and of 22 military officials against them.
“The event to decide to remove the immunity of these two parliamentarians was observed by many civil society organizations as well as by representatives of several embassies. After the National Assembly had voted to remove the immunity of these two parliamentarians of the Sam Rainsy Party, other parliamentarians of the Sam Rainsy Party and of the Human Rights Party walked out of the National Assembly, with masks to convey that the freedom of expression is restricted, and these two parliamentarians without immunity protection said that this decision is not just, and some civil society organizations announced to demonstrate, if these two parliamentarians are brought to the courts.
“A parliamentarian from Phnom Penh, the spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Yim Sovann, told reporters that Ms. Mu Sochua and Mr. Ho Vann are victims, and therefore, ‘we see that there is no balanced relation between the court and the executive body. In addition, Mr. Yim Sovann accused the National Assembly of violating its internal rules and the position of parliamentarians.
“Mr. Yim Sovann called on the international community to put pressure on Cambodia.
“As for Mr. Ho Vann, whose immunity was removed, he said that he had already clarified everything and did not expect that the National Assembly would clarify in its records the reason for removing their immunity. Ms. Mu Sochua, despite having no immunity, announced that she would continue to struggle based on the law against Samdech Hun Sen until the end. She said that she will appeal even though the Municipal Court might decide to withhold her appeal.
“The president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, Mr. Rong Chhun, said that he will lead a demonstration, if Ms. Mu Sochua is brought to court. But he emphasized that such a demonstration is not only to support opposition party parliamentarians, but also to support parliamentarians of the Cambodian People’s Party, if they suffer injustice.
“The Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Phnom Penh, Mr. Ho Vann, was sued on 20 April 2009 by 22 military officials for defamation and incitement to commit successful and unsuccessful misdemeanors, 22 people who had received [military] degrees. Ms. Mu Sochua has sued the prime minister for defamation, after she held a press conference with the lawyer Kong Sam On on 23 April 2009.
“Presiding over an inauguration of the Hun Sen Krang Yov High School in S’ang, Kandal, on 22 June 2009, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, the prime minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, warned against any outside interference, while the legal procedures to strip the opposition party parliamentarians for defamation are proceeding.
“Samdech Dekchor stated, ‘Some foreigners and other people: Please don’t disturb the law. And if there is an attempt to disturb the legal procedures, then we have the law and the procedures to act against those troublemakers. The court is used to avoid violence, because if problems were not solved according to the law, there would be anarchy. We strengthen the law and the procedures. Thus, you can say what you want, but make sure it does not affect the rights of others, since they have their own rights and they are humans, not animals.’
“Samdech added that ‘we begin strengthening democracy and also the state of law, but not an anarchic democracy. However, democracy must be accompanied by the state of law. Even though you are parliamentarians, if you do wrong, the court will prosecute you. But before a prosecution, the court has to remove their immunity.’ He continued to say, ‘They shouted that we [the government] are corrupt. As for them, they do not own companies, and they do not do rice cultivation, they are just members of an opposition party and of non-government organizations, but why do they have money for airline travel to go abroad and to sleep in five stars hotels? Just traveling abroad twice costs as much as the construction of a school building; where do they get the money to cover such expenses?’”
Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1977, 23.6.2009
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Tuesday, 23 June 2009