Resolution adopted without a vote by the Inter-Parliamentary Council
at its 166th session (Amman, 6 May 2000)

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/166/16(c)­R.1), and to the relevant resolution adopted at its 165th session (October 1999),

Taking account of the information and observations provided to the Committee by the Cambodian delegation to the 103rd Conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Recalling the following information on file:

  • Mr. Kem Sokha, Mr. Pol Ham, Mr. Son Sann and Mr. Son Soubert were, among others, the targets of a grenade attack perpetrated in October 1995 against a congress held by their party, the Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party; despite the official statement by the then First Prime Minister, Prince Ranariddh, that “the perpetrators will be caught and punished severely”, the investigation has yielded no result to date;
  • Mr. Sam Rainsy and participants in a peaceful and legal demonstration that he organised on 30 March 1997 were the target of a grenade attack in which Mr. Sam Rainsy's bodyguard was killed and more than one hundred people were seriously injured; the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Human Rights in Cambodia reported serious abnormalities in security arrangements for the demonstration, which indicated that the attackers enjoyed the complicity of the security personnel, who were actually soldiers belonging to the personal guard of the then Second Prime Minister, Hun Sen; another attempt on Mr. Sam Rainsy's life was reportedly made on 20 August 1998; none of these incidents have so far been elucidated by the competent authorities,

Considering that, according to a member of the Cambodian delegation to the 103rd Conference, investigations were still under way and had not yet yielded sufficient results for the case to be brought before the judge; however, a second report on the attack had concluded that one of the attackers was a former member of the Cambodia People's Party (CPP) who had meanwhile joined Mr. Rainsy's party; an identikit likeness of that person had been prepared; furthermore, international investigators were helping the Cambodian authorities with the investigation,

Recalling the consistently expressed concern of the Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union regarding the de facto impunity prevailing in these cases and the concern of the international community regarding impunity expressed in the resolutions adopted by the United Nations General Assembly and Commission on Human Rights in recent years on the human rights situation in Cambodia,

Noting that, in his report to the United Nations General Assembly (A/54/353) on his thirteenth and fourteenth missions to Cambodia in March and May 1999 respectively, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Human Rights in Cambodia expressed the hope that the new Government would make serious efforts to investigate and bring to justice those responsible for the most serious acts of politically related violence committed during the term of the previous Government, including the grenade attacks of October 1995 and March 1997 referred to above; that he reiterated his concerns regarding impunity and the need to promote and protect the independence of the judiciary and the establishment of the rule of law in his report to the 56th session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (E/CN.4/2000/109); noting further that, in its concluding observations (July 1999) on the initial report of Cambodia under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the United Nations Human Rights Committee expressed particular concern “in regard to the delay in completing the investigation of the grenade attack on demonstrators on 30 March 1997”,

Recalling that, at the Committee's hearing of the Cambodian delegation 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 that FUNCINPEC had concluded on 23 November 1998 with its coalition partner, the Cambodia People's Party (CPP), provided for the combating of impunity and the investigation of crimes committed in the past, which issues, according to him, were also part of the General Programme of Politics that Prime Minister Hun Sen had submitted to the National Assembly on 30 March 1999,

Recalling in this connection that, in his letter of 2 August 1999, the President of the Assembly stated that he had twice reminded Prime Minister Hun Sen 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”,

Recalling that, according to information provided by the sources following the elections of July 1998, Mr. Kem Sokha was prevented from travelling abroad and accused of incitement to racial unrest and damage to public property, and that an arrest warrant was issued against him,

Recalling that, according to information provided by the President of the National Assembly in April 1999, the judicial proceedings instituted in autumn 1998 against Mr. Kem Sokha had been dropped and the arrest warrant issued against him withdrawn; considering, however, that Mr. Kem Sokha was informed by his lawyer in December 1999 that the case against him had not been dropped but only suspended because he enjoyed parliamentary immunity; on the contrary, the court was gathering more evidence to arrest the President of the “Women and National Legitimacy Party”, who had joined Mr. Kem Sokha in leading the September 1998 peaceful demonstration to protest against what the opposition viewed as electoral fraud,

Recalling that another arrest warrant, issued in September 1998 against Mr. Sam Rainsy, has reportedly never been officially withdrawn, and that the judicial proceedings seem to have been shelved but not dropped,

  1. Thanks the Cambodian delegation for the information and observations it provided;
  2. Deeply regrets that no progress has been made in the investigations into the grenade attack of October 1995 and the attempts on Mr. Sam Rainsy's life of March 1997 and August 1998, so that the perpetrators of these criminal acts continue to enjoy de facto impunity;
  3. Notes with dismay this state of affairs, which seems to indicate that the Cambodian authorities have failed to honour their obligation to render justice, thereby violating the right to justice of the former and incumbent MPs concerned;
  4. Reaffirms that the combating of impunity is a prerequisite for the establishment of a democratic State based on the rule of law and respect for human rights;
  5. Calls again on the competent authorities, in particular the National Assembly as the guardian of human rights, to honour their commitment to combat impunity, particularly with regard to the crimes in question, all the more so since there exists ample evidence, at least in the case of the March 1997 grenade attack; reiterates its wish to be advised of the stage reached in the investigation regarding the grenade attacks of October 1995 and March 1997;
  6. Expresses concern at the allegation that the judicial proceedings instituted in the autumn of 1998 against Mr. Kem Sokha and Mr. Sam Rainsy have not been dropped but only suspended on account of their parliamentary immunity, and wishes to ascertain whether this is true and, if so, to be provided with detailed information in this regard;
  7. Requests the Secretary General to communicate this decision to (i) the parliamentary and other competent authorities, inviting them to provide the requested information, and (ii) the appropriate United Nations bodies;
  8. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session (October 2000).

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