CASE N° CMBD/01 - Sam Rainsy
CASE N° CMBD/02 - Son Soubert
CASE N° CMBD/03 - Pol Ham
CASE N° CMBD/04 - Son Sann
CASE N° CMBD/05 - Kem Sokha

Resolution adopted without a vote by the Inter-Parliamentary Council
at its 165th session (Berlin, 16 October 1999)

The Inter-Parliamentary Council,

Referring to the outline of the case of Mr. Sam Rainsy, Mr. Son Soubert, Mr. Pol Ham, Mr. Son Sann and Mr. Kem Sokha, of Cambodia, as contained in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/165/12(b)­R.1), and to the relevant resolution adopted at its 164th session (April 1999),

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

Recalling that FUNCINPEC, which won the elections, formed a coalition with the runner­up, the Cambodia People's Party (CPP); that Mr. Sam Rainsy was excluded 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 in 1995 the BLDP split into two factions; that the faction led by the Minister of Information, Mr. Ieng Mouly, was recognised by the authorities while the other, led by Mr. Son Sann, was the target of a grenade attack when attempting to hold a congress in October 1995; that in March 1997 an authorised and peaceful KNP demonstration, led by Mr. Rainsy, in turn suffered a grenade attack that left at least 16 dead and over 100 injured; that investigations have so far been unavailing,

Noting that the evidence on file, at the present stage of investigations, is that in September 1998 Mr. Kem Sokha was obliged to take refuge in a foreign embassy for 50 days following threats and accusations against him for activities conducted in his parliamentary capacity and as chairman of the National Assembly's Committee on Human Rights and Complaints; that he was accused of incitement to racial hatred and damage to public property, and that a warrant was issued for his arrest; that Mr. Sokha joined the FUNCINPEC Party, which picked him as one of its members in the new Upper House of Parliament, the Senate; according to the President of the National Assembly, there is at present no charge outstanding against him; yet, according to Mr. Kem Sokha's lawyer, his case is still pending,

Noting that it is alleged that the arrest warrant issued in September 1998 against Mr. Sam Rainsy has never been officially withdrawn and that the judicial proceedings seem to have been simply shelved but not dropped; noting, in addition, that Mr. Rainsy is said to be the target of death threats,

Recalling that, at the hearing of the Cambodian delegation held by the Committee on the occasion of the 101st Inter-Parliamentary Conference in Brussels (April 1999), the President of the National Assembly of Cambodia pointed out that the Programme of Common Politics which FUNCINPEC had concluded on 23 November 1998 with its coalition partner, the Cambodia People's Party (CPP), provided for combating impunity and investigating the crimes of the past, which issues were, he said, also part of the General Programme of Politics which the Prime Minister had presented to the National Assembly on 30 March 1999,

Also recalling that, referring to both Programmes, the President stated his determination both to guarantee the rights of the parliamentary opposition and to ensure that impunity no longer prevailed in Cambodia,

Considering that, in his letter of 2 August 1999, the President of the National Assembly stated that he had twice reminded the Prime Minister of the need for appropriate measures concerning the cases in question, adding that "unfortunately, there is no substantial progress in the investigations on the specific cases that prompted the impunity issue [to be] raised"; noting that in that letter the President also refers to a series of measures taken as part of judicial and civil administration reform to reduce the incidence of impunity; however, according to him, those measures taken as a whole might not be sufficient; strong and tangible support would therefore be needed from the international community,

  1. Thanks the President of the National Assembly for his observations and his cooperation;
  2. Notes with deep regret that it emerges from the communications received that, in spite of an asserted official resolve to combat impunity and of progress with regard to the security and protection of leading political figures and an improvement in general security in the country, no substantial progress has been made in the investigations into the aforesaid attacks, whose perpetrators remain unpunished;
  3. Reaffirms that combating impunity is essential to the establishment of a democratic State based on the rule of law and respect for human rights, and emphasises in this connection the opinion of the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Human Rights in Cambodia that: "the lack of prosecution by the Government of past instances of serious human rights violations creates a climate of impunity and sends a negative signal to everyone in the society. To the criminal elements, it is an encouragement that they might continue to kill, torture, rape, illegally arrest and detain without being held accountable; that they are above the law. To the public, the message might be understood to be that the law is powerless to protect ordinary people from abuse and that, therefore, it is necessary to defend one's interests through violent means …";
  4. Reiterates its wish (i) to be informed of any progress in the investigations under way; (ii) to ascertain whether the arrest warrants issued in the autumn of 1998 against Mr. Sam Rainsy and Mr. Kem Sokha have both been withdrawn and whether any proceedings are currently under way against them;
  5. Requests the Secretary General to convey this decision to the parliamentary and other competent authorities, inviting them to provide the requested information;
  6. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session (April-May 2000).

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