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Resolution adopted unanimously by the Governing Council
at its 173rd session (Geneva, 3 October 2003)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the outline of the case of Mr. Chhang Song, Mr. Siphan Phay and Mr. Pou Savath, members (expelled) of the Senate of Cambodia, as contained in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/173/11(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 171st session (September 2002),

Taking account of the letter of the Senate President dated 18 August 2003 and of communications from one of the sources dated 7 and 25 August 2003,

Recalling that its concern in this case relates to the fact that the Senators concerned were expelled ipso facto from the Senate in December 2001 on the grounds that they had been expelled from their party, although there is no legal or statutory provision permitting or making provision for the loss of the parliamentary mandate in the case of loss of party membership; it has therefore considered the expulsion of the persons concerned to be unlawful and called on the authorities to remedy this situation; while the Senate President affirmed that the expulsion was founded in law, he stated that the Standing Orders would be amended and clear provisions for revocation of the parliamentary mandate introduced,

Considering that, on the Committee's recommendation, an expert mission was carried out in January 2003 to advise the Senate of Cambodia on the proposed amendment to the Senate Standing Orders regarding revocation of the parliamentary mandate; the version of the amended Standing Orders was transmitted by the Senate President in his letter of 18 August 2003; the text, which is still under review, does not provide for revocation of the parliamentary mandate by political parties; however, the transitional provisions: (a) explicitly stipulate that "for the first legislative period of the Senate, senators who cease to be members of their original parties shall be stripped of membership in the Senate" (Article 121); and (b) cover explicitly the Senate decision to expel the three Senators concerned, as according to Article 123 "all decisions adopted by the Senate before the existence of valid provisions on these points" are considered to be consistent with the Standing Orders,

Recalling finally that it has invited the Senators concerned to take their case to court, which they have not done, reportedly out of fear for their safety; noting finally that Senators Chhang Song and Pou Savath did not stand in the July 2003 legislative elections; while the latter campaigned for the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP), Senator Siphan Phay stood as a candidate for the SRP but was not elected,

  1. Thanks the President of the Senate for his consistent cooperation;

  2. Welcomes the fact that the draft Standing Orders no longer provide for the loss of the parliamentary mandate on the grounds of loss of political party membership, and thus no longer permit a political party to revoke the parliamentary mandate;

  3. Notes that a special provision retroactively legitimises the wrong done to the Senators concerned; can but consider this provision to be an implicit recognition that the expulsion was indeed ill-founded in law; invites therefore the Senate authorities once again to consider taking remedial action in favour of its former members who suffered moral and financial prejudice as a result of their expulsion;

  4. Requests the Secretary General to convey this decision to the President of the Senate;

  5. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session to be held on the occasion of the 110th Assembly, when it hopes to be in a position to close it.

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