Resolution adopted without a vote by the Inter-Parliamentary Council
at its 164th session (Brussels, 16 April 1999)

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/164/13(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 163rd session (September 1998) 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,

Considering the observations made by the President of the National Assembly of Cambodia, Prince Ranariddh, at the Committee's hearing of the Cambodian delegation held on the occasion of the 101st Inter-Parliamentary Conference (Brussels, April 1999),

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 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, suffered 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 was also the victim of a grenade attack, resulting in at least 16 dead and over 100 injured,

Recalling that the investigations into both attacks have so far been unavailing,

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

Recalling the observation by the Cambodian delegation to the 99th Inter-Parliamentary Conference (April 1998) that the current priority was the preparation of the elections; and that the investigations in question 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, 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,

Noting that in the legislative elections of July 1998 only Mr. Sam Rainsy was re-elected among the MPs concerned, while Mr. Son San did not stand for re-election; noting also that the election results were disputed by the opposition, which made accusations of vote fraud and manipulation of the parliamentary seat allocation formula,

Noting further that the new National Assembly, following post-electoral conflict and violence, finally convened at the end of September 1998, and that in November 1998 it swore in the new Government; that Mr. Sam Rainsy now has the official status of leader of the opposition; recalling, however, that, subsequent to a grenade attack on Mr. Hun Sen's home on 7 September 1998, a warrant was issued for the arrest of Mr. Sam Rainsy and that he escaped arrest owing to United Nations protection,

Considering that on 10 September 1998, while according to the source he still enjoyed parliamentary immunity, Mr. Kem Sokha was prevented from leaving the country; that, subsequently, an arrest warrant was issued against him and he was summoned to an interrogation on criminal activities he allegedly committed and that he went underground for fear of his safety; that, on 15 December 1998, he resurfaced and attended a court summons at which he was questioned for two hours in connection with charges of incitement to violence, destruction of property, racism and other criminal acts, all of which he denies,

Considering that Mr. Kem Sokha joined FUNCINPEC and was appointed one of its members in the Senate; that, according to the President of the National Assembly, he has been cleared of any charges and enjoys full liberty; that likewise Mr. Son Sann and Mr. Pol Ham joined FUNCINPEC and occupy important functions within it,

Considering that Mr. Son Soubert was appointed a member of the Constitutional Council,

Noting that in letters dated 8 and 9 April 1999 respectively, Mr. Son Soubert, on behalf of his former parliamentary colleagues, and Mr. Sam Rainsy expressed their wish that the Inter-Parliamentary Union continue examining their cases with a view to finally identifying those responsible for the grenade attacks and bringing them to justice,

Considering that, according to the President of the National Assembly, the Programme of Common Politics which FUNCINPEC concluded on 23 November 1998 with its coalition partner, the Cambodia People's Party (CPP), provides for combating impunity and for investigations into the crimes of the past, a point which is also part of the General Programme of Politics which the Prime Minister presented to the National Assembly on 30 March 1999,

Bearing in mind that, in the resolution it adopted at its 54th session on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights expressed grave concern at the situation of impunity in Cambodia and stressed, inter alia, that bringing to justice those responsible for human rights violations remained a matter of critical and urgent priority,

  1. Thanks the President of the National Assembly for his co-operation and is gratified at his determination both to guarantee the rights of the parliamentary opposition and to ensure that impunity no longer prevails in Cambodia;
  2. Earnestly hopes that the newly elected Parliament will do its utmost to combat impunity and ensure respect for human rights, and trusts therefore that the attempts on the lives of the former and incumbent MPs concerned will no longer remain unpunished;
  3. Would appreciate information on the steps the National Assembly plans to take or has already taken to combat impunity, and in particular to ensure that the past grenade attacks on Mr. Sam Rainsy, Mr. Kem Sokha and their former parliamentary colleagues do not remain unpunished, and wishes to ascertain any progress achieved in the investigations under way;
  4. Would appreciate confirmation that the arrest warrants issued in autumn 1998 against Mr. Sam Rainsy and Mr. Kem Sokha have both been withdrawn and that no proceedings are under way against them;
  5. Recalls that it is the duty of the State to ensure the safety and physical integrity of the persons living in its territory;
  6. Reaffirms that impunity can only be an incentive to the repetition of crime and poses a major threat to democracy and respect for human rights;
  7. Requests the Secretary General to convey this decision to the parliamentary and other competent authorities, inviting them to provide the requested information;
  8. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining the case and report to it at its next session (October 1999).

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