now browsing by author

Posted by: | Posted on: November 9, 2022

No glimmers of democratic hope allowed in Cambodia

No glimmers of democratic hope allowed in Cambodia

Op-Ed: Asia Time

PM Hun Sen threatening to ban opposition Candlelight Party ahead of 2023 elections in repressive redux of CNRP’s forced dissolution


“I expect that Cambodia will hold off on the possible dissolution of the Candlelight Party until after the East Asia Summit to ensure that the Biden-Hun Sen meeting goes smoothly,” said Charles Dunst, an associate at The Asia Group, a Washington-based strategic advisory firm. 

Yet there are also questions about how prepared the US would be to respond in the event of the opposition party’s dissolution.  

As Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) threatens to ban its latest opposition rival ahead of next year’s elections, the United States and European Union can be expected to toughen their existing sanctions on the nation’s democratic backsliding.  

Western democracies imposed limited economic sanctions and other punitive measures against several Cambodian officials in response to the 2017 forced dissolution of the main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on dubious legal grounds.  

Despite new engagement this year and with US President Joe Biden visiting Phnom Penh for the first time next week for a regional summit, Cambodia’s long-ruling prime minister has escalated his rhetorical attacks on the newly-reformed Candlelight Party, which emerged as the largest rival group at June’s local elections.

Hun Sen, who has been in power since 1985, has said the party could be banned ahead of next year’s general election because of its alleged links with exiled opposition figure Sam Rainsy, the Candlelight Party’s former leader. 

Rainsy has been sentenced in absentia to numerous political charges and Hun Sen has prevented his attempts to return to the country from self-exile in France. The Candlelight Party denies any current links with him, despite being known as the Sam Rainsy Party until 2018.

The party was mostly disbanded in 2012 after Rainsy and most of its members merged with another opposition group to form the CNRP, which was forcibly dissolved on spurious accusations of plotting a US-backed coup. 

“Any political party that links itself to the convict [Rainsy] will receive a complaint about it to the court. If a political party dares to attach itself to Sam Rainsy, they may face dissolution,” Hun Sen said on October 17. 

A week later, he followed up with a more direct threat after Rainsy posted content on social media that allegedly defamed Cambodia’s monarch. “I want the Candlelight Party to clarify its stand on Sam Rainsy’s statement claiming the King has no conscience,” he stated, according to local media reports. 

He added: “It isn’t a small story, and [it’s] not a joke…The Candlelight Party members must immediately defect to avoid any problem [because Sam Rainsy’s supporters in the party] want to topple the government and monarchy.” 

Even before Hun Sen’s latest threats, the ruling CPP and the National Election Commission, a CPP-stacked body, sued the Candlelight Party’s vice-president Son Chhay for defamation over his comments made about irregularities at June’s local election. He was found guilty and ordered to pay around US$750,000 to the claimants in early October.  

Hun Sen has slightly toned down his rhetoric in recent days after the Candlelight Party put out a public statement again denying association with Rainsy and critiquing his comments about the monarchy.  

“If they had not done so, they would be facing problems. I stress again – no one shall link with that traitor,” Hun Sen said on October 29. 

However, Hun Sen’s latest comments still carry the threat of dissolution and the country’s CPP-stacked courts would likely readily accept his legal justification for the party’s dissolution, even if the leader cannot provide any corroborating evidence, analysts say.

Kem Sokha, the CNRP president at the time of its ban, was arrested for treason in 2017 and his trial is ongoing, despite the prosecutors presenting very little evidence to substantiate the coup claims during hearings.  

Read More …
Posted by: | Posted on: January 14, 2021


JANUARY 13, 2021, Op-Ed: Senator Edward J. Markey

សមាជិកព្រឹទ្ធសភា Markey សមាជិកព្រឹទ្ធសភា Warren និង Rep Trahan មានប្រសាសន៍ថា“ យុទ្ធនាការរបស់លោកនាយករដ្ឋមន្រ្តីហ៊ុនសែនដើម្បីបំបិទសំឡេងគូប្រជែងនយោបាយរបស់គាត់ដោយបដិសេធពួកគេនូវសិទ្ធិការពារខ្លួននៅក្នុងតុលាការ បង្ហាញពីការស្អប់ខ្ពើមចំពោះនីតិរដ្ឋ” ។ “ ការធ្វើសាវនាការតុលាការកង់គូរូដើម្បីដាក់ទោសអ្នករិះគន់ចំពោះការប្រឆាំងជំទាស់របស់ពួកគេរួមជាមួយការវាយប្រហារជាបន្តបន្ទាប់របស់គាត់លើសារព័ត៌មាននិងសង្គមស៊ីវិលគឺជាការឆ្លុះបញ្ចាំងពីភាពទន់ខ្សោយដែលកំពុងកើនឡើងរបស់លោកហ៊ុនសែន នោះមិនមែនជាកម្លាំងទេ។ យើងសូមអំពាវនាវដល់រដ្ឋាភិបាលកម្ពុជាអនុញ្ញាតឱ្យបុគ្គលណាដែលប្រឈមនឹងការចោទប្រកាន់របស់តុលាការ ត្រឡប់មកប្រទេសកម្ពុជាដោយសុវត្ថិភាពដើម្បីចូលរួមក្នុងការតវ៉ាផ្ទាល់ខ្លួន ទោះយ៉ាងណាក៏ដោយវាច្បាស់ណាស់ថាការកាត់ក្តីទាំងនេះគឺមានហេតុផលនយោបាយ ហើយកំពុងដំណើរការនៅក្រៅប្រព័ន្ធច្បាប់។ ច្បាប់លទ្ធិប្រជាធិបតេយ្យនៅកម្ពុជាផ្ញើសារយ៉ាងច្បាស់ថាសភាសហរដ្ឋអាមេរិកមានបំណងជួយប្រជាពលរដ្ឋកម្ពុជាអោយទទួលបានតាមការសន្យានៃកិច្ចព្រមព្រៀងសន្តិភាពទីក្រុងប៉ារីសកាលពីជំនាន់មុន ដូច្នេះពួកគេអាចចូលរួមដោយសេរីនៅក្នុងរដ្ឋាភិបាលរបស់ពួកគេ។ យើងគួរតែអនុម័តច្បាប់នោះអោយខាងតែបាន។

Massachusetts lawmakers condemn Hun Sen’s crackdown and political charges against Members of Cambodia’s leading opposition political party 

Washington (January 13, 2021) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), lead Democrat on the East Asia Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Congresswoman Lori Trahan (MA-03) released a statement in response to the scheduled January 14, 2021 trial of prominent political opposition leaders in Cambodia. The Government of Cambodia, led by Prime Minister Hun Sen, announced last year their intention to try dozens of activists belonging to the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), the country’s main opposition party which was outlawed in 2017, sending many of its leaders into exile. Trials against some of the activists are scheduled to begin this week, while many are prevented from entering Cambodia to participate in their own defense. 

“Prime Minister Hun Sen’s campaign to silence his political opponents by denying them the right to defend themselves in court reveals disdain for the rule of law,” said Senator Markey, Senator Warren, and Rep. Trahan. “Convening a kangaroo court to punish his critics for their opposition, along with his continued attacks on the press and civil-society, is a reflection of Hun Sen’s growing weakness, not strength. We call upon the Government of Cambodia to allow any individuals facing charges to return safely to Cambodia to participate in their own trials.  However, it is clear that these trials are politically motivated and are operating outside the rule of law. The Cambodia Democracy Act  sends the clear message that the U.S. Congress intends to help the Cambodian people deliver on the promise of the Paris Peace Agreements of a generation ago so they can participate freely in their government. We should pass that legislation.” 

On January 14, 2021, Cambodia’s Phnom Penh Municipal Court will reportedly try 47 CNRP activists and officials, including Acting CNRP President Sam Rainsy, who lives in exile abroad, and others linked to politically-motivated charges of trying to organize protests against and overthrow the government of Hun Sen. The government has also failed to offer credible evidence to support charges of treason against Kem Sokha, CNRP President, for allegedly attempting to overthrow the Cambodian People’s Party. The Government of Cambodia has failed to issue passports and visas for opposition leaders and activists charged, making it unlikely they will be to answer their court summons in person. In 2020, Senator Markey introduced the Cambodia Democracy Act, in response to the deteriorating human rights and democracy situation in Cambodia.###

Posted by: | Posted on: December 9, 2020

Sophoan Seng addressed repatriation plan of 04 January 2021 is purely facing with court summons

Talking on live show of Youth Voice for Justice of CNRP America, Mr. Sophoan adamantly articulated the viable plan returning back to Cambodia of CNRP leadership led by Mu Sochua as it is a mature political attitude responding to the court’s summons.

Facebook Live Talk Show Link

  1. Legally speaking, the repatriation plan is purely to fight with the accusation of the Phnom Penh municipal Court summoned by deputy prosecutor Seng Heang. The accusation is bogus “plotting” to commit treason and “incitement” to commit a felony which are a serious crime without bleeding or hurting anybody physically and mentally at all. The accusation is politically motivated. The due process is non-existent as en mass trial was created by improper en mass name listing all together to attest to a public building. The court proceeding is set up to denounce all justice attempts because the defendants are not allowed to having sufficient time to prepare themselves at all including seeking or exercising rights to obtaining legal counsel or attorney. While the initial accusation is high the chance of trial in absentia is pretty bogus, this returning back to fight the legal accusation is apolitical. And no one can block or ban this physical presenting of the defendants as well as manipulating the court proceeding.
  2. Political pragmatism has been visibly emerging among Cambodian people and their leaders. Court proceedings are considered the most safety net of social reform and social order revitalization although it is a bad court or a good court. When a society is at war, the brave men and women are needed to carry gun; but when a society is at peace, the brave men and women are needed to carry pen and paper. The court of Cambodia has been notoriously known for its “travesty of justice”. Many men and women have already been thrown in jail because of this bad court practice, and the sacrifices of those men and women shall deepen a new successful chapter of history of Cambodia. The grand policy to walk into the court room in order to restructure, repaint, restore human resource and refinance it, is very pragmatic and optimistic.
Posted by: | Posted on: May 25, 2019

Sam Rainsy updated chronicle of Cambodia illegitimate elections under Hun Sen dictatorial leadership

២៦ ឧសភា ២០១៩ / 26 May 2019

ការបោះឆ្នោតក្លែងក្លាយ ដែលនាំមកនូវប្រព័ន្ធឯកបក្ស / Fake elections leading to a one-party system (*)

ថ្ងៃអាទិត្យ ២៦ ឧសភា ២០១៩ នេះ មានការរៀបចំការបោះឆ្នោតជ្រើសរើសសមាជិកក្រុមប្រឹក្សា រាជធានី-ខេត្ត ក្រុង-ស្រុក-ខណ្ឌ។ នេះជាការបោះឆ្នោតក្លែងក្លាយ លើកទី៣ នៅកម្ពុជា បន្ទាប់ពីរបប ហ៊ុន សែន បានរំលាយគណបក្សសង្គ្រោះជាតិ ដោយអត្តនោម័ត នៅថ្ងៃ ១៦ វិច្ឆិកា ២០១៧។ ការបោះឆ្នោតក្លែងក្លាយ លើកទី១ គឺការបោះឆ្នោតព្រឹទ្ធសភា នៅថ្ងៃ ២៥ កុម្ភៈ ២០១៨។ ការបោះឆ្នោតក្លែងក្លាយ លើកទី២ គឺការបោះឆ្នោតតំណាងរាស្ត្រ នៅថ្ងៃ ២៩ កក្កដា ២០១៨។ ការបោះឆ្នោតក្លែងក្លាយទាំង ៣ លើកនោះ ធ្វើឲ្យគណបក្សកាន់អំណាច ទទួលបានកៅអី ១០០ ភាគរយ នៅគ្រប់ស្ថាប័នរដ្ឋ ពីថ្នាក់ជាតិ ដល់ថ្នាក់មូលដ្ឋាន។ សូមមើលការពន្យល់ ក្នុងតារាងខាងក្រោមនេះ។
(*) This Sunday 26 May 2019 there is an election to renew municipal, provincial, town and district councils. This is the third fake election to take place in Cambodia following the arbitrary dissolution of the opposition CNRP on 16 November 2017. The first fake election was the last Senate election which took place on 25 February 2018. The second fake election was the last National Assembly election which was held on 29 July 2018 without the participation of the CNRP. These three consecutive fake elections have allowed the ruling CPP to “win” 100% of the seats up for grabs at all State institutions from national to local levels. (See explanations in the chart below).

Read More …