Resolution adopted without a vote by the Inter-Parliamentary Council
at its 162nd session (Windhoek, 11 April 1998)

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/162/11(a)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 161st session (September 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,

Taking account of the information and observations provided by the Cambodian delegation at the hearing held on the occasion of the 99th Inter-Parliamentary Conference (April 1998),

Also taking into consideration information provided by one of the sources on 15 February 1998,

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 Cambodia People's Party (CPP), 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); that the BLDP split in 1995 into two factions; that the one headed by Information Minister Mr. Ieng Mouly obtained government recognition, while the other faction, led by Mr. 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 Mr. Sam Rainsy also suffered a grenade attack killing at least 16 people and injuring over 100,

Considering that, according to the last report of the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General on Human Rights in Cambodia to the General Assembly (A/52/489, October 1997), eyewitnesses reported that a group of heavily armed soldiers - members of Mr. Hun Sen's personal bodyguard - stood some 200 yards from the demonstration, and that two people who threw the grenades were allowed to run past the soldiers, who then prevented demonstrators from chasing them,

Noting that the investigation into this attack has so far been unavailing, as has the investigation into the grenade attack of October 1995 against Mr. Son Sann and his group,

Considering the observation by the Cambodian delegation to the 99th Inter-Parliamentary Conference that the current priority was the preparation of the elections; and that the investigations in question were certainly still under way and would be fully addressed once the elections were over,

Recalling the violent ousting of First Prime Minister Prince Ranariddh in July 1997, resulting in scores of individuals loyal to Prince Ranariddh and his political party being extrajudicially executed without anybody having so far been brought to justice; that others, including the above former or incumbent parliamentarians concerned, were forced into exile; that, as stated in his report to the General Assembly, the United Nations Special Representative described the events as a " coup d'Etat ",

Considering in this connection the August 1997 " Memorandum on evidence of summary executions, torture and missing persons since 2-7 July " submitted by the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General for Human Rights in Cambodia to the Royal Government,

Considering that, in November 1997, Mr. Sam Rainsy returned to Cambodia followed in early 1998 by the other MPs in question in an attempt to prepare for the July 1998 elections,

Also considering that under the Japanese-brokered " four pillars initiative ", Prince Ranariddh returned to Cambodia on 30 March 1998 after having been sentenced in absentia, in what is widely considered to have been a grossly unfair trial by a military tribunal, and subsequently amnestied by the King,

Considering that, according to several sources, some MPs belonging to the CPP (Cambodians People's Party) attempted to have Mr. Son Soubert removed from his position of Vice-President of the National Assembly for having described the July 1997 events as a " coup d'Etat "; that he was reportedly also at risk of having his parliamentary immunity lifted,

Considering that, according to the Cambodian delegation to the 99th IPU Conference, no request for the lifting of his immunity has been tabled and that he is pursuing his normal parliamentary duties,

Considering further that, according to the delegation, Mr. Soubert's BLDP faction was not allowed to register for the election on account of a lawsuit under way between his faction and that of Mr. Ieng Mouly as to which was the legitimate one; that, however, Mr. Soubert has been put on the list of candidates of another party,

Bearing in mind that in his report to the General Assembly referred to above, the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General on Human Rights in Cambodia stated that the problem of impunity was one of the key issues of the establishment of rule of law in the country, impunity in this particular case meaning that those who violate human rights - in particular military personnel, police, the gendarmes and other members of the armed forces - are neither arrested nor prosecuted, even if the authorities and the public at large are fully aware of their guilt,

Considering that, according to reports of international human rights organisations, political killings have continued after July 1997,

  1. Thanks the Cambodian delegation for the information it provided and for its observations;
  2. Expresses deep concern at its statement that combating impunity was not a priority because full attention had to be given to the preparation of the July 1998 elections;
  3. Affirms once again that impunity can only encourage persistant criminality, and also affirms that a prerequisite for the holding of free and fair elections is the creation of a climate of security and confidence enabling people to exercise their basic human rights to freedom of speech, association and assembly and letting parties campaign in safety;
  4. Convinced that without combating impunity this cannot be achieved, and therefore strongly urges the authorities to reconsider their priorities and so bring to justice the perpetrators of human rights violations, including those responsible for the grenade attack in October 1995 on Mr. Son Sann and his supporters and for the similar attack on a KNP demonstration in March 1997 led by Mr. Sam Rainsy;
  5. Urges the authorities to ensure that the MPs concerned are able to contest the elections without any hindrance;
  6. Requests the Secretary General to convey this decision to the Cambodian authorities;
  7. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining the case and report to it at its next session (September 1998).

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