Resolution adopted without a vote by the Inter-Parliamentary Council at its 161st session
(Cairo, 16 September 1997)

The Inter-Parliamentary Council,

Referring to the outline of the case, as contained in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/161/10(a)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 160th session (April 1997) concerning the case of Mr. Sam Rainsy and that of Mr. Son Soubert, Mr. Pol Ham, Mr. Son Sann and Mr. Kem Sokha, of Cambodia,

Recalling that the above parliamentarians were elected in the 1993 elections organised by UNTAC (United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia); that Mr. Sam Rainsy was elected on a FUNCINPEC ticket and the other four MPs on a BLDP (Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party) ticket,

Recalling that FUNCINPEC, the winner of the elections, formed a coalition with the CPP (Cambodia People's Party), the runner-up; that tensions and political party divisions have characterised Cambodian politics since 1993; that Mr. Sam Rainsy was expelled from his party in May 1995 and subsequently from the National Assembly; that in November 1995 he founded a new political party, the Khmer Nation Party (KNP), which in February 1997 declared a political alliance with FUNCINPEC with a view to the elections planned for 1998; that the BLDP split in 1995 into two factions; that the one headed by Information Minister Ieng Mouly obtained government recognition while the other faction, led by Son Sann, was the victim of a grenade attack when attempting to hold a congress in October 1995; that, in March 1997, an authorised and peaceful demonstration of the KNP led by Sam Rainsy also suffered a grenade attack killing at least 16 people and injuring 100,

Considering that, on 5 and 6 July 1997, Second Prime Minister Hun Sen's troops launched violent and sustained attacks against forces loyal to First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh in Phnom Penh; that the fighting, which led to many mostly civilian deaths and casualties, resulted in Prince Ranariddh's ousting from power; that individuals loyal to Prince Ranariddh and his political party have been extrajudicially executed or arrested while dozens have fled the country in fear of their lives, including the five former/incumbent parliamentarians concerned; that a total of 18 members of the National Assembly elected on either a FUNCINPEC or a BLDP ticket are thus in forced exile,

Considering that the legality and legitimacy of the establishment of a FUNCINPEC II party and the designation of Ung Huot as First Prime Minister in place of Prince Ranariddh have been strongly contested; that his designation has also failed to obtain the consent of the King of Cambodia,

Considering that Article 83 of the National Assembly's Rules of Procedure provides for the replacement of any member of the National Assembly abandoning duty for three months or more, and that according to the Cambodian delegation to the 98th Inter-Parliamentary Conference (September 1997), the National Assembly will in two weeks' time replace its members who have not returned,

Reaffirming that the grenade attack of September 1994 on Mr. Son Sann and his group, and the similar attack of March 1997 on Mr. Sam Rainsy, should not remain unpunished,

Considering that, according to several sources, including eyewitnesses, responsibility for the attack can be attributed to bodyguards of Mr. Hun Sen,

1. Thanks the Cambodian delegation for the observations it provided;

2. Condemns the violent events in Cambodia of July 1997 which forced the parliamentarians concerned into exile for fear of their lives and caused great distress and suffering;

3. Affirms that it is the duty of the State to ensure the safety of its citizens and therefore urges the authorities to take prompt measures to ensure that the MPs concerned may return to their country in safety; considers that the launching of a genuine peace and reconciliation process would be essential to this end;

4. Affirms moreover that Article 83 of the National Assembly Rules of Procedure cannot be invoked in the present instance to replace the members concerned since their absence is involuntary and due to fear for their lives;

5. Considers further that any action in the present circumstances to replace the members of the National Assembly having been forced into exile would do nothing to further the reconciliation process;

6. Insists yet again that the Cambodian authorities have a duty, under national and international law, to dispense justice and to prosecute those responsible for the grenade attack on Mr. Son Sann and his supporters and for the grenade attack on Mr. Sam Rainsy, and urges them to ensure that these crimes are investigated with all due diligence and thoroughness;

7. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the Cambodian authorities, inviting them to provide their observations;

8. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining the case and report to it at its next session (April 1998).

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