IPU Logo-middleInter-Parliamentary Union  
IPU Logo-bottomChemin du Pommier 5, C.P. 330, CH-1218 Le Grand-Saconnex/Geneva, Switzerland  

Resolution adopted unanimously by the Governing Council
at its 177th session (Geneva, 19th October 2005)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Mr. Chhang Song, Mr. Siphan Phay and Mr. Savath Pou, members (expelled) of the Senate of Cambodia, as outlined in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/177/11(a)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 176th session (April 2005),

Recalling that the Senators concerned were expelled from their party, the Cambodian People's Party (CPP), on 6 December 2001 and dismissed from parliament a few days later, a decision never formally notified to them, that their expulsion occurred after they had criticized in parliament the Criminal Code Bill, and that, according to the Senate President, they were expelled because of their inappropriate personal behaviour, which violated their party's code of conduct and its general political line,

Recalling its position, which is shared by competent United Nations bodies, that the Senators were expelled although nothing in the Constitution or in the Senate's Standing Orders prescribes forfeiture of the parliamentary mandate in the event of expulsion from a political party, and that only the internal party regulations of the CPP provide for termination of membership in parliament in cases of expulsion from the party,

Recalling that the Senate President has consistently affirmed that the Senate, including its own Committee on Human Rights and Reception of Complaints to which Senator Chhang had addressed a complaint on the matter, had no competence to provide redress, and that the former Senators concerned should take their case to court, which the persons in question say they cannot do owing to the lack of independence of the Cambodian judiciary and the risks for their security involved,

Recalling that the Senate was in the process of amending its Standing Orders, including the provisions concerning loss of the parliamentary mandate, and that, according to the Senate President, the Senate Special Commission which was working on the draft standing orders and was expected to finish its work by November 2004 was waiting for the National Assembly to amend its own standing orders before reviewing those of the Senate, as "the standing orders of both institutions must be related to a great extent",

  1. Reaffirms its view, for want of any convincing arguments to the contrary, that the Senate was not bound by the decision of the Cambodian People's Party (CPP) to expel the three Senators, as internal party regulations cannot override the Constitution and Standing Orders, and was therefore entitled to refuse the CPP's request to replace them;

  2. Remains convinced that the Senate, regardless of any court action that may be brought by the former Senators against their former political party, could and should have taken remedial action and provided redress, if only moral, to its three former members, and that the Senate's own Committee on Human Rights and Reception of Complaints, which, as its name indicates, is competent to examine complaints from citizens, would have been ideally placed to find such a settlement; and also remains convinced that such a course of action would have strengthened the independence of the Senate vis-à-vis undue interference by other branches of government and political parties, thereby conforming to the principles of liberal democracy and pluralism and the separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution;

  3. Reiterates its wish to ascertain whether the decision to expel the Senators concerned from their party exists in a written form, and if so, would appreciate receiving a copy thereof;

  4. Wishes to ascertain whether the amended Standing Orders have meanwhile been adopted and, if so, would be grateful to receive a copy of it;

  5. Requests the Secretary General to seek this information from the parliamentary authorities;

  6. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held during the 114th IPU Assembly (May 2006).

Note: you can download a complete electronic version of the brochure "Results of the 113th IPU Assembly and related meetings in PDF format (file size 653K approximately ). This version requires Adobe Acrobat Reader, which you can download free of charge.Get Acrobat Reader