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EP urged to make ‘objective assessment’ on Cambodia political development

Ben Sokhean / Khmer Times Thu, March 18, 2021

File photo of the National Assembly debating the draft law on COVID-19 measures. National Assembly

Cambodian legislative bodies have urged the European Parliament (EP) to make an “objective assessment” of the political development in the Kingdom.

The reaction was made after the EP last week adopted three resolutions over the human rights situation in Cambodia, slamming the mass trials against former opposition leaders and civil society.

In its resolution, the EP – which consists of 27 member states – called on the government to stop harassing, intimidating and charging members of the political opposition, trade unionists, human rights defenders, the media and civil society actors with crimes for “politically motivated reasons”.

In a statement yesterday, Cambodia’s National Assembly took note, with “utter dismay”, of the EP’s resolution of March 11 on the trials against offenders in Cambodia.

“We, therefore, urge the European Parliament to make an objective assessment on the political development in Cambodia and continue to constructively engage with diverse political groups in Cambodia based on the principles of mutual trust, respect and interest,” it said.

According to the National Assembly, as an independent and sovereign state, Cambodia is entitled to pursue its policy of self-determination to protect its national interests, including peace, stability and prosperity.

“We do not tolerate any intentions and activities that aim to disrupt the fabrics of the country’s hard-earned peace and stability,” it added.

It said the trials of the perpetrators linked to the “9 November 2019 plot” are in full conformity with our Constitution and related laws, which strengthen the rule of law in the Kingdom.

“Any attempt to plot an insurrection through the use of defamatory languages, incitement to violence and a call upon the armed forces to overthrow a legitimate government are unlawful and must be denounced,” the National Assembly said.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on March 1 sentenced former opposition leader Sam Rainsy to 25 years in jail, while Mu Sochua and Eng Chhai Eang, both vice-presidents and former lawmakers of the ex-CNRP, were sentenced to 22 years in jail each.

The court also sentenced six other ex-CNRP lawmakers to 20 years in jail each after they were found guilty of attempting to “attack” the government. They are Rainsy’s wife Tioulong Saumura, Ou Chanrith, Ho Vann, Long Ry, Men Sothavarin and Nuth Romduol. All of them are living in exile abroad.

Rainsy vowed to return to the Kingdom to restore democracy and human rights on November 9, 2019, but his planned return failed to materialise.

In its resolution, the EP called on Cambodian authorities for an “immediate and unconditional annulment” of the sentences against former opposition senior officials as well as initiate a process of “national reconciliation” through genuine and inclusive dialogue with the political opposition parties and civil society.

Additionally, the Senate yesterday also issued a statement expressing its deep disappointment and regret over the resolutions of the EP on Cambodia.

“The resolutions of the European Parliament are unfounded, biased and politically motivated, and encourage criminals to oppose the legitimate Royal Government by serving the foreign political agenda against the nation itself,” it said.

The Senate said demanding to drop the charges against defendants and the annulment of convictions is an interference in internal affairs to a sovereign state and a violation of the independence of the Cambodian judiciary.

Cambodia News Home

SOURCE – Khmer Times, Cambodia Thu, March 18, 2021

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