Guide to pages

Cambodia's 1998 Election

SRP Documents

(Page 9 of 9)

Legal opposition ISO meaningful role


November 30, 1998


[MP Sam Rainsy, SRP president and expected opposition leader, made the following points during his address to the National Assembly on Monday, November 30 in the course of the Assembly's election of a new Government. The ten SRP Members present voted against the government of Hun Sen. Five other SRP Members have not yet returned to Cambodia.]

My party supports the program that Funcinpec and the CPP have agreed upon, although it is incomplete. However, I will not vote for the government slate that the leaders of those two parties have proposed.

The members of the party doubt the ability of the (proposed) Council of Ministers to carry out the program. For the most part they are the same people who held these portfolios for the past five years, during which we saw the pillaging of Cambodia's natural resources; the institutionalization of a criminal economy based on smuggling, money-laundering, drug-trafficking and corruption; the creation of a police state with total impunity for human rights violators; and the misallocation of scarce government funds to the security apparatus at the expense of human needs.

Again we see co-Ministers in Defense and Interior, a dilution of responsibility that will leave the real ruling party in firm control once again. That same party will control the Finance Ministry and other "money ministries", as well as the Finance and Banking Commission of the Assembly. Therefore that party will have control of the two fonts of power in Cambodia: guns and money.

Even in a climate of total impunity, without fair access to the media for the opposition, with systematic campaigns of intimidation by the ruling party, sixty percent of the people voted for change. They deserve new leaders, not the same leaders that have exploited them and caused them to live in terror while plundering the resources that rightly belong to the people and the nation.

To install the same people in the Government is a recipe for disaster, and we will not support it. We do not support approaches to the nation's problems that are based on power-sharing and political deals such as the proposed Senate. We support actions and we will demand it.

As the opposition, the Sam Rainsy Party will create a shadow cabinet to critique the actions of the government and to suggest improvements and changes in policy. We hope that the forces who support democracy both inside and outside Cambodia will do their best to ensure that the opposition can play a meaningful role as it must in a parliamentary democracy.

We pledge to push substantial policies and create new approached to solve the problems of food shortages, lack of health care, environmental degradation, failure to meet the civil service payroll, and the other problems that plague our country.

We also pledge to use our position to protect our party supporters and all supporters of democracy in the countryside of Cambodia where the worst rights violations traditionally go unpunished and unnoticed.



PRESS RELEASE (Revised Version)

Statement Denying Sam Rainsy Party's Involvement in Military Groups

Some individuals in certain political camp have accused SRP's involvement and support to the dissident armed resistance on the Cambodian-Thai border. The SRP unequivocally denies all allegations related to this matter for the following reasons:

1. The first of the ten SRP's Principles is to "end wars between Khmers and Khmers." The present civil war, exacerbating by groups of power-driven individuals who elevate self-interests and partisan politics above the interests of the nation, is meaningless. This war only destroys. It causes perpetual suffering to the Cambodian people. The SRP commits to end bloodshed between Khmers without compromises. This is our conviction. If SRP involves or provides supports to the dissident armed force, then not only SRP betrays the Cambodian people but also hypocritically contradicts its conviction. The SRP has no intention to adulterate its conviction, but instead it adheres to the principles of justice, equality, rule of law, and freedom and to live by the creeds of compassion, kindness, humility, and accountability.

2. Unlike Hun Sen and his thuggish associates who abuse military might to kill harmless monks, unarmed students, peaceful demonstrators, and innocent people, the SRP commits to peaceful, lawful and just means to bring about much-needed reforms to Cambodia. We operate within the framework of our inalienable rights as detailed in the Cambodian Constitution. We do not violate human rights. We do not kill. We never have been in command of a military or monetary power, nonetheless we win the hearts and souls of the peace craving Cambodian people by manifesting humility, courage, integrity, compassion, responsibility and genuine love for the people.

Contrary to the allegations, the SRP has only conducted peaceful demonstrations and practiced civil disobedience (i.e. Muhadhma Ghandi embraced civil disobedience to bring down the tyrannical rule of the British colonization). This is consistent with our conviction--to end wars between Khmers and Khmers.

3. The SRP forbids all SRP members and leaders to use or associate the party's official name with any armed resistance group. Members or leaders shall not act in any official capacity on behalf of the SRP to promote supports for any armed resistance group. This is our policy. A violation to this policy may result in expulsion from the party.

A former SRP member, Mr. Chhun Yasith, resigned from the SRP on 10/07/1998. Immediately after departing from the SRP, he became one of the leaders of the Cambodian Freedom Fighters (CFF). He or his group has not had any official or unofficial tie to the SRP since then.

Abiding by the will of the Cambodian people, the SRP desires peace and justice. It makes no sense for a peace-craving people to support armed resistance. The SRP unequivocally denies such baseless allegations regarding this matter.

SRP-USA Central Committee

Washington D.C.



Residence Royale de Pekin

Republique Populaire de Chine

Le 7 decembre 1998

Preah Karuna très venere,

Concernant le projet de revision constitutionnelle en cours d'examen par les autorites publiques cambodgiennes, permettez-moi de Vous soumettre très respectueusement quelques modestes reflexions, etant donne que Sa Majeste le Roi est, selon notre Constitution, "le Garant du respect des droits et libertes des citoyens et du respect des traites internationaux" (article 8) en même temps qu'Elle "joue le rôle d'Arbitre pour garantir la regularite du fonctionnement des pouvoirs publics" (article 9).

De nombreux observateurs khmers et etrangers s'accordent à reconnaître que la revision de la Constitution telle qu'elle est envisagee actuellement sera lourde de consequences. L'amendement le plus important concerne la creation d'un Senat. Un tel amendement, s'il est effectivement adopte, suscite les remarques suivantes:

1- Le changement propose bouleversera l'equilibre entre les plus hautes institutions de l'Etat et le fonctionnement même de celui-ci. Le passage du monocameralisme au bicameralisme implique une refonte complète de la Constitution en vigueur. Sur les 139 articles actuels, au moins 23 articles devront être revus entièrement (les articles 11, 12, 13, 18, 22, 24, 26, 30, 51, 87, 90, 91, 92, 93, 100, 102, 107, 118, 120, 121, 122, 130, 132) pour faire une place à un Senat digne de ce nom. En plus, un Titre entier de la Constitution intitule "DU SeNAT" devra être ajoute à la Constitution existante pour definir la composition, le mode d'election, le rôle, les pouvoirs, les responsabilites et le mode de fonctionnement du Senat, à l'instar du Titre VII de la Constitution intitule "DE L'ASSEMBLeE NATIONALE" qui comporte aussi 23 articles. Des dispositions supplementaires devront encore être ajoutees pour definir les relations de travail entre l'Assemblee Nationale et le Senat ainsi que les possibilites et conditions pour reunir en Congrès la Chambre Haute et la Chambre Basse du Parlement. Cela fera en tout une cinquantaine d'articles qu'il faudra reviser ou ajouter à la Constitution actuelle qui deviendra alors meconnaissable par rapport à son contenu initial. Tout le monde se souvient que Samdech Hun Sen menaçait, il y a seulement deux ou trois ans, d'une riposte militaire foudroyante toute personne qui oserait preconiser une modification quelconque de la Constitution (par exemple pour donner un peu plus de pouvoir au Roi) car cela equivaudrait, selon lui, à initier un coup d'Etat... . Mais maintenant, pour remplir le seul objectif de Samdech Hun Sen de devenir le seul Premier Ministre suivant un arrangement politique assez tordu qui necessite la creation d'un poste dore comme President du Senat pour Samdech Chea Sim prive de son poste de President de l'Assemblee Nationale par l'ex-Co-Premier Ministre Samdech Norodom Ranariddh, on n'hesite pas à bouleverser toute la Constitution sans en mesurer toutes les consequences.

2- Les raisons purement politiciennes sous-tendant la revision constitutionnelle envisagee, l'ampleur de cette revision et le procede retenu pour sa conduite constituent une violation de l'esprit et de la lettre de la Constitution en vigueur, une violation de la volonte populaire exprimee à travers les elections de juillet 1998 durant lesquelles il n'a jamais ete question de revision constitutionnelle (l'Assemblee Nationale actuelle n'a donc pas mandat pour changer aussi radicalement la Constitution existante), et une violation de la volonte de l'Assemblee Constituante issue des elections organisees par les Nations Unies en 1993 en application des Accords de Paris de 1991 qui contiennent une disposition (Annexe 5) indiquant les principes qui doivent regir la Constitution cambodgienne. Pour respecter les Accords de Paris (qui mentionnent le referendum populaire comme moyen d'effectuer un important amendement constitutionnel), notre Constitution de 1993, la volonte populaire exprimee à nouveau en 1998, et les principes et règles democratiques universels, la voie referendaire doit être suivie pour proceder à une revision constitutionnelle de la nature et de l'ampleur de celle qui est envisagee actuellement.

3- Le Senat lui-même, une fois son principe approuve par le peuple, doit être elu au suffrage universel direct ou indirect. L'election du Senat peut être associee à celle des chefs de commune. Les elections locales ayant dû avoir lieu depuis 1996, il ne faut plus les retarder sous aucun pretexte car la democratie ne prendra vraiment racine au Cambodge que si l'on en sème les graines d'abord au niveau des petites communautes rurales comme le village, la commune, le district. Le developpement economique ne peut être realise et le niveau de vie des paysans ne peut être releve sans un renforcement des structures democratiques, notamment à la base, pour reduire la corruption, combattre l'arbitraire et forcer les tenants de l'autorite publique à rendre des comptes au peuple.

4- Tous les democrates khmers expriment à Sa Majeste le Roi leur plus profonde gratitude pour avoir refuse de nommer les Senateurs, à l'exception de deux d'entre eux seulement qui seront les representants personnels du Monarque constitutionnel. Tous les autres Senateurs doivent être elus. Ils ne peuvent être nommes ni par le Gouvernement ni par l'Assemblee Nationale, même seulement pour un premier mandat, comme certains le suggèrent d'une manière irresponsable. En effet, comment le Gouvernement, representant le pouvoir executif, peut-il nommer des Senateurs qui sont des representants du pouvoir legislatif? C'est vraiment ne rien comprendre au principe fondamental de la separation des pouvoirs. Dans le même ordre de folie, comment l'Assemblee Nationale qui constitue la Chambre Basse du Parlement dans un système bicameraliste, peut-elle nommer le Senat qui constitue la Chambre Haute de ce même Parlement? Que penseraient les Americains si on leur proposait que la Chambre des Representants nomme tout simplement le Senat, permettant ainsi aux Etats-Unis de faire l'economie d'elections senatoriales? Nos politiciens à Phnom Penh sont en train de delirer.

5- Les Cambodgiens de l'etranger, injustement ecartes des dernières elections legislatives, doivent pouvoir elire des representants au futur Senat, en allant accomplir leur devoir civique dans nos ambassades et consulats à travers le monde. Notre Constitution comme beaucoup de nos lois dans de nombreux domaines s'inspirent de la legislation française. A cet egard, il faut souligner qu'il y a en France des Senateurs representant les Français à l'etranger. La diaspora khmère forte d'un demi-million de personnes, la plupart d'entre elles hautement eduquees, doit être encouragee à participer à la vie politique du Cambodge, ce qui encouragera au moins une partie de nos compatriotes d'outre-mer à revenir au pays natal pour contribuer à sa reconstruction et son developpement.

Daignez agreer, Preah Karuna et Samdech Preah Reach Akka Mohesei très veneres, l'expression de mon indefectible devouement.


Sam Rainsy

Chef de l'opposition parlementaire



December 8, 1998


On behalf of the oppressed Cambodian people, I appeal to the governments of ASEAN member states to delay the admission of Cambodia now under the legally and politically shaky leadership of former Khmer Rouge and communist-minded Hun Sen.

By admitting Cambodia under the present circumstances, ASEAN would not do any good to Cambodia and to itself.

To Cambodia :

1- Dictator Hun Sen has recently seized full power through manipulated elections and a dubious political deal with the royalist FUNCINPEC party which has been given nominal positions but with no means to exert any real power. Like the coalition government set up in 1993 and broken down in 1997, the 1998 arrangement is another recipe for disaster. 2- What Hun Sen expects from admission to ASEAN is just a stamp of approval for his tricky and dangerous maneuvers. Giving Hun Sen the stamp of approval he wants would be the worst service ASEAN could render to Cambodia. It would consolidate a mafia state in a banana kingdom. It would encourage Hun Sen to continue to pay lip service only to serious concerns about systematic human rights abuses, a warlord system, environmental destruction, rampant corruption and state-involved drug trafficking. It would prevent the implementation of fundamental reforms needed to make Cambodia a viable state with an effective government. The same dangers remain for Cambodia with the same people in power and the same system in place.

3- As elaborated in my December 7, 1998 letter to King Norodom Sihanouk, the way Hun Sen is planning to drastically amend the Constitution is totally unconstitutional, contrary to the will of the Cambodian people as expressed over the last five years, contrary to universal democratic rules and principles, and constitutes a violation of the 1991 Paris Peace Accords on Cambodia which all ASEAN present member states (except Burma) are signatories to. In particular, the proposition to create a Senate for purely political expediency, in the most undemocratic way, will prove to be a costly joke leading the country towards further instability.

To ASEAN itself :

1- If admitted this month as a full member, Cambodia is likely to be a headache for ASEAN in the next few months onwards with the looming instability compounded by a big question mark regarding the role of the newly "defected" Khmer Rouge forces traditionally allied with FUNCINPEC. 2- The present Cambodian government is faced with insurmountable problems and crumbling under its contradictions: the marriage of convenience between communists and royalists is counter nature while a mafia state incompatible with a democratic system and a real market economy will only make Cambodia a sinkhole for international assistance and push the country further and further down the drain. Therefore, Cambodia led by Hun Sen will be enable to meet its political, technical and financial obligations as a full member of ASEAN.

3- Cambodia under Hun Sen's rule will weaken rather than strengthen ASEAN which will be more and more deeply divided between very conservative and authoritarian states (Vietnam, Laos, Burma, Cambodia) and other member states which sincerely aspire to democracy and deserve the respect of the world.

4- As a full member of ASEAN, Cambodia led by Hun Sen can only consolidate the drug connection in South East Asia. Drugs from the Golden Triangle will more easily find a way out to the rest of the world through Laos and Cambodia since it becomes more and more difficult for drug traffickers to operate from Thailand. Theng Bunma, the leader of the mafia in Cambodia, operates a fleet of private helicopters which regularly carry heroin from Laos to Cambodia but they also occasionally carry soldiers and weapons for the present Cambodian government. Theng Bunma is a financial pillar for the Hun Sen regime which has promoted him President of Cambodia's Chamber of Commerce! As reported in this week's international press, Theng Bunma is now facing legal troubles in Hong Kong, Thailand and Singapore but still enjoys the protection of Hun Sen in what is typically a mafia state which should be rejected by ASEAN.


Sam Rainsy

Leader of the parliamentary opposition[Following is a translation from French by SRP staff of a letter from opposition leader Sam Rainsy to King Norodom Sihanouk. The King forwarded it to Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Chea Sim, Heng Samrin and Hun Sen, with a request that they examine it carefully.]

Royal Residence in Beijing, People's Republic of China

December 7, 1998

Most venerated Preah Karuna,

Concerning the project of revising the Constitution in the process of examination by the public authorities of Cambodia, allow me to submit most respectfully to You some modest reflections, being that His Majesty the King is, according to our Constitution, "the Guarantor of respect for rights and liberties of the citizens and for respect of international treaties" (Article 8) and at the same time that He "plays the role of Arbiter to guarantee the normal functioning of public power" (Article 9).

Many Khmer and foreign observers agree to recognize that the revision of the Constitution that is planned at the moment would be heavy with consequences. The most important amendment concerns the creation of a Senate. Such an amendment, if it is effectively adopted, raises the following remarks:

1. The proposed change would throw off the balance between the high institutions of the State and also their function. The change from a single chamber to a double chamber implies a rewriting of the Constitution that is in force now. Of the 139 current articles, at least 23 articles must be reviewed in their entirety (articles 11, 12, 13,18, 22,24,26, 30, 51, 87, 90, 91, 92, 93, 100, 102, 107, 118, 120, 121, 122, 130, 132) to make room for a Senate worthy of the name. Furthermore, a whole section of the Constitution titled "THE SENATE" would have to be added to the existing Constitution to define the composition, the mode of election, the role, the powers, responsibilities and the functioning of the Senate, in Chapter VII of the Constitution titled THE ASSEMBLY, also making up 23 articles. These additional articles must be added to define the working relations between the National Assembly and the Senate and also possibilities and conditions for the Upper Chamber and the Lower Chamber to meet in Congress. That would make, in all, more than fifty articles that have to be revised or added to the current Constitution which would become unrecognizable compared to its initial content. Everybody remembers that Samdech Hun Sen threatened, during the past two or three years, that he would quickly respond with military force to anyone who dared to make any modification of the Constitution (for example to give a little more power to the King) which would mean, according to him, to initiate a coup etatd'.... But now, to accomplish Samdech Hun Sen's single objective to become the Prime Minister alone after a tortuous political arrangement which necessitates the creation of a sinecure such as President of the Senate for Samdech Chea Sim to vacate his post as President of the National Assembly for the former co-Prime Minister Samdech Norodom Ranariddh, there is no hesitation to scramble the whole Constitution without regard for the consequences.

2. The purely political reasons behind the proposed constitutional revision, the importance of this revision and the procedure to make the revision constitute a violation of the spirit and the letter of the current Constitution and a violation of the will of the people expressed through the July 1998 elections during which there was no question of revising the Constitution (the current National Assembly was not given a mandate to make such a radical change to the current Constitution), and a violation of the will of the Constituent Assembly that issued from the elections organized by the United Nations in 1993 under the Paris Accords of 1991 which contained an article (Annex 5) indicating the principles that guard the Cambodian Constitution. To respect the Paris Accords (which mention the popular referendum as the means to make an important constitutional amendment), our 1993 Constitution, the popular will expressed anew in 1998, and universal democratic principles and rules, a referendum is necessary to make a constitutional revision of the nature and importance of that which is now proposed.

3. The Senate itself, once its principles are approved by the people, must be elected through universal vote, either direct or indirect. The election of the Senate can be linked to that of the communal elections. The local elections have been due since 1996, so we cannot delay further under any pretext because democracy cannot take root in Cambodia unless we plant the seed first in the small rural communities: the villages, the communes and the districts. Economic development cannot progress and the standard of living of the farmers cannot be improved without strengthening democratic structures, especially at the lower levels, reducing corruption, eliminating abuse and making the public authorities accountable to the public.

4. All the Cambodian democrats express to His Majesty the King their deep gratitude for refusing to name the Senators, except for only two which would be personal representatives of the constitutional Monarch. All the Senators must be elected. They can neither be named by the Government nor by the National Assembly, even the first mandate, as some have irresponsibly suggested. In effect, how could the Government, representing the executive power, name the Senators who would represent the legislative power? It is completely incompatible with the principle of separation of powers. Through the same kind of mistake, how could the National Assembly, which is the lower house of the parliament in a bicameral system, name the Senate, which is the upper house of the same parliament? What would the Americans think if it were proposed that the House of Representatives simply named the Senate, allowing the United States to spare the expense of the senatorial elections? Our politicians in Phnom Penh are confused.

5. Cambodians abroad, unjustly denied their right to participate in the last legislative elections, must have the right to vote for their representatives in the future Senate, by exercising their civic rights through their embassies and consulates around the world. Our Constitution, like many of our laws in a numbers is inspired by French law. In this regard, it is clear that in France the Senators represent the French abroad. The Cambodian diaspora of half a million people, mostly highly educated, must be encouraged to participate in Cambodian political life, which would encourage at least some of our overseas compatriots to return to their native land to contribute to reconstruction and development.

Please accept, most venerated Preah Karuna and Samdech Preah Reach Akka Mohesei, the expression of my everlasting devotion.


Sam Rainsy

Leader of the parliamentary opposition


December 9, 1998


Here in Cambodia the anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights on December 10 is only a reminder that the Cambodian people are still systematically denied their rights. The landmark declaration will be honored in Washington, Paris, Geneva, and even in Phnom Penh. But without action to back them, the words that honor the Declaration will continue to serve only as the refuge of the most craven violators of human rights.

This week yet another damning report on the lack of respect for human rights in Cambodia was released, this time by Human Right Watch. Like previous reports by Amnesty International, and by the United Nations itself, the latest points out the failure of the Cambodian regime to take any significant action toward correcting its dismal human rights record.

No amount of posturing about "free and fair elections" can cover up the fact that despite dozens of documented political murders and hundreds of threats and acts of violence against the political opposition, the Cambodian regime has not prosecuted a single violator-not even one. The impunity named by the United Nations as making fair elections impossible is still one hundred percent intact.

The regime's failure is no accident. It is not through a lack of understanding of the human rights principles embodied in the Universal Declaration. It is not through a lack of training or a simple oversight. It is a conscious and purposeful strategy used by the regime to suppress its opposition.

Cambodian security officials who participate in the cover-up are rewarded with promotions and political payoffs, and are named to sit on the phony human rights commission which predictably deny that there are any violations at all. Meanwhile individuals linked to the opposition, such as Lim Eov Pheng, who was "summarily found guilty and sentenced to one year in prison" (Point 55 of the Report of the Secretary-General of the UN on the Situation of Human Rights in Cambodia, Sept 17, 1998) rot in prison. Others, like Danh Teav, whose case is detailed in the same gloomy report, are kidnapped by police, beaten and held indefinitely. And despite the Universal Declaration and the Cambodian Constitution which makes the death penalty illegal, the bodies continue to surface.

Unfortunately the international community, in endorsing Hun Sen's seizure of power through deeply unfair and purposely flawed elections, has tacitly endorsed the regime's violations of human rights, and implicitly given it the green light for further violations. It is deeply ironic to see international representatives honoring the Universal Declaration at a time when their disregard for its principles is so apparent.

We call on the international community now to back up its claims of support for human rights. Countries and international organizations should condition their recognition of Cambodia's government, acceptance of Cambodia to various international groupings, and programs of aid to Cambodia on actual progress in respect for human rights-not promises, not pledges, not committees and conferences, but prosecution of human rights violators from the bottom ranks to the very top. Without demonstrable improvement in the atrocious human rights record of the Cambodian authorities, a meaningful opposition will not be possible and democracy in Cambodia will continue to be an illusion.

The Sam Rainsy Party strongly supports an international tribunal to investigate and prosecute those who have committed acts of genocide and other crimes against humanity in Cambodia. However these proceedings should not be limited to the appalling violations which took place from 1975-78 under the Khmer Rouge regime. Those who organized killings of Cambodians in the 1980s and 1990s should also be brought to justice. The presence of these criminals in our midst today means that these proceedings should be held outside of Cambodia, because the Cambodian people are still subject to coercion by those who should be on trial. The world must not wait 20 years once again, to find only the aging and impotent criminals of the past.


Note to journalists: Opposition leader and SRP president Sam Rainsy will speak at a press conference at 8pm Wednesday night at the Foreign Corespondents Club in Bangkok, Thailand. He is expected to return to Phnom Penh on Thursday or Friday. For further information please call 855-12-802-062.


December 11, 1998


The Philippines, Singapore and Thailand are reportedly hesitating to support Cambodia's admission to ASEAN at next week's Hanoi summit. Their reluctance to admit Cambodia immediately is well-considered.

Philippine Foreign Undersecretary Lauro Baja has identified a missing element in the political process Cambodia has embarked on: the Senate, which was agreed on to provide a role for CPP President and former National Assembly President Chea Sim.

Since the creation of a Senate was a principal plank of the political deal that led to the formation of the CPP-FUNCINPEC coalition, that deal remains incomplete. The players recognized that Chea Sim must have a high-ranking position. But because the deal they made was purely political (Cambodia having no need whatsoever for a Senate), they are running into legal and technical obstacles. Specifically, it will be difficult to alter the Constitution so drastically as to create a Senate while retaining the appearance of respect for the people's will (see Sam Rainsy's letter to King Norodom Sihanouk which was communicated by the latter on December 8, 1998 to Hun Sun, Norodom Ranariddh, Chea Sim and Heng Samrin for "careful examination").

A political requirement is therefore being left unfulfilled. The confusion over the Senate is a potential source of instability and a legitimate source of concern.

This problem stems from the tendency of some Cambodian leaders to make decisions based on political expediency and desire for power, rather than on the will of the people. In the long term, stability goes hand-in-hand with democracy.



December 15, 1998


Cambodia's opposition Sam Rainsy Party expresses its agreement with the comments of some member states of ASEAN that have shown their understanding of Cambodia's present situation by opposing the immediate admission of Cambodia to ASEAN. The concerns they have raised are legitimate.

The SRP supports Cambodia's eventual admission to ASEAN. However the timing of this admission must depend on Cambodia's stability, a satisfactory and equitable resolution of power-sharing issues, the maturation of effective legal institutions, the rule of law and respect for human rights, political reform, and reform of the financial and economic sectors so that Cambodia can meet conditions set by ASEAN and the International Monetary Fund.

With judicious timing, ASEAN will be able to admit the whole of Cambodia to membership, rather than effectively admitting one political party before it has met its commitments to the other political forces and the people they represent.

Chief among these commitments is the formation of a "Senate" to provide a place for CPP President Chea Sim and other political figures who have been left without posts. The CPP and FUNCINPEC have a duty to be careful and sensible in approaching this commitment (see the Dec 7 letter from Sam Rainsy to the King, enumerating the serious constitutional problems with the creation of a Senate).

The SRP supports the proposal being formulated by a group of non-governmental organizations, which would abandon the costly, unnecessary and constitutionally risky Senate proposal, instead making Chea Sim the head of the Constitutional Council.

This reform of the Constitutional Council could be an opportunity to correct an imbalance that favors the CPP and cripples the Council's ability to be an impartial, stabilizing legal institution. The Political Platform for a Coalition Government in Cambodia for 1998-2003, released jointly by FUNCINPEC and the SRP on November 4, 1998, addresses this issue (along with the similarly distorted composition of the National Electoral Committee that must be corrected in order for this year's local elections to be credible):

"The controversy over the disposition of complaints on election irregularities and fraud by the National Electoral Committee shows that the NEC's impartiality, neutrality and independence is in question. For example, FUNCINPEC has no representative on the NEC as required by law. Further, the election of the NGO representative was tainted by credible charges of corruption and vote buying. In order for the NEC to be truly neutral, independent and impartial, it must be reorganized.

"Similarly, the composition of the Constitutional Council, the highest body interpreting legislation and to decide election disputes, fails to guarantee the Council's independence, neutrality and impartiality.

"Both bodies must be legally reorganized. Political parties must be barred from appointing their members to these institutions."


December 21, 1998

TOXIC WASTE RIOTS SHOW DISTRUST OF AUTHORITIES Opposition demands answers, not just political posturing

It has been reported that up to two people have died as a result of exposure to foreign industrial waste dumped in Sihanoukville. The Sam Rainsy Party strongly condemns the import of any kind of hazardous waste into Cambodia. Our country is not a dumping ground for more developed countries.

The riots by the citizens of Sihanoukville against provincial authorities and port officials shows very clearly that the people do not trust the government to defend their interests, and the government does not trust the citizens to support its efforts. Unfortunately there is a very good reason for this mutual lack of trust: the persistent lack of democracy in Cambodia.

The record of the government, in its various past formations, has been one of consistent exploitation. Carelessness and greed on the part of Cambodian decision makers have led to much suffering by innocent people. Look at the deforestation and the resulting food shortage. Look at how diversion of State revenues (for example, tax exemptions granted by Prime Minister Hun Sen to his friends) deprives the State of funds and leads to a derelict health and education systems.

We hope to see real results coming out of the current posturing of the government. The material must be quickly assessed and the results made public. There must be a quick and public account of who is responsible for this, and a overhaul of the procedures to ensure it cannot happen again. There are names on documents authorizing this shipment, and we want to know what those names are, all the way to the top.

In the meantime we urge the authorities and the people to refrain from any acts of violence. To our knowledge, the toxicity of the waste has not been established and the reported deaths have not been conclusively linked to contact with the waste.

We remind observers that in early 1993, before the UNTAC election, the Hun Sen regime signed a $40 million contract with an American company to import "industrial waste"-possible nuclear waste-and dump it in Sihanoukville. In his capacity as a member of the Supreme National Council of Cambodia, Sam Rainsy wrote to the chief of UNTAC, Mr. Yasushi Akashi, after meeting with American ambassador Charles Twining to denounce the project. It was then canceled.

Cambodia must develop and strengthen its environmental laws. As in many areas of Cambodian law, vague wording and the absence of subdecrees render the laws toothless and make it easy for the powerful and the wealthy to abuse the law.


For further information, please call Rich Garella on 855-12-802-062 or Ou Bun Long on 855-15-835-547.


December 21, 1998


In 1995 the National Assembly set each Friday as the day for question time, as required by Article 96 of the Constitution (see below). However, despite repeated requests by different Members of the Assembly, question time was never observed, and members of the Government were never called before the Assembly to answer on behalf of the Government.

Today's submission of a question [by 15 SRP MPs to Assembly President Norodom Ranariddh] on the policy of Cambodia toward logging and deforestion marks the beginning of what we hope will be both a fruitful dialogue between the legislative and executive branches of government and an opportunity to make the Government more accountable to its people and to its international donors.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- THIS WEEK'S QUESTION: LOGGING

1. From 1993 to 1998 how many millions of hectares of forest were destroyed in Cambodia? 2. What excuses can the Royal Cambodian Government (RCG) put forward for not making public all logging contracts signed with private companies? 3. How much money was actually collected from the signing and implementation of these contracts? 4. Given the devastating effects of massive deforestation leading to a severe food shortage for the Cambodian people, and in order for the RCG to boast some credibility before the next Consultative Group meeting of the donor community, will any of the RCG members involved in illegal logging be soon prosecuted? ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Each Monday the Opposition will put a question to the government. Each Friday (unless the Assembly designates a different day) we will expect a written or verbal answer, during the Assembly's session. We are happy to consider suggestions of questions from any concerned citizens or observers.

Constitution of Cambodia, Article 96:

The deputies have the right to put a motion against the Royal Government. The motion shall be submitted in writing through the President of the Assembly. The replies shall be given by one or several ministers depending on the matters related to the accountability of one or several ministers. If the case concerns the overall policy of the Royal Government, the Prime Minister shall reply in person. The explanations by the ministers or by the Prime Minister shall be given verbally or in writing. The explanations shall be provided within 7 days after the day when the question is received. In case of verbal reply, the President of the assembly shall decide whether to hold an open debate or not. If there is no debate, the answer of the minister or the Prime Minister shall be considered final. It there is a debate, the questioner, other speakers, the ministers, or the Prime Minister may exchange views within the time frame not exceeding one session. The assembly shall establish one day each week for questions and answers. There shall be no vote during any session reserved for this purpose.

(Also see Chapter 9 of the Rules and Procedure of the National Procedure.)

Please note that Article 89 separately empowers 1/10 of the Member of the Assembly, or 13 of them, to invite a high-ranking official to answer particular questions.


For further comment, please call MP Son Chhay on 855-12-858-857 or Rich Garella on 855-12-802-062.

Number 336/98 SRP



Subject: Position of Sam Rainsy Party on the creation of a Senate

Reference: - The King's letter made in Beijing on November 24, 1998 - The King's letter made in Beijing on December 8, 1998 - Sam Rainsy's letter on December 7, 1998

Related to the Subject and Reference above, I would like to submit to His Majesty the King the position of the Sam Rainsy Party relating to the creation of a Senate as follows:

1. The Sam Rainsy Party supports the statement of the 22 civil society members of December 11, 1998 suggesting a change to add more members to the Constitutional Council and nominate Chea Sim as president of the institution, to avoid the creation of the Senate that would use a lot of the budget and also would require changes in many articles of the Constitution to be done hurriedly, which could bring negative consequences in the future. This amendment of the Constitution requires a popular referendum first.

2. If two thirds of the National Assembly members still insist on approving the creation of a Senate following the decision of the summit meeting on November 12-13, 1998, then the Sam Rainsy Party will support a universal election by Cambodians inside and outside the country to recruit the members of the Senate other than the two members nominated by the King. This election of the Senate could be organized at the same time as the election of commune chiefs in order to respect democratic principles and all political parties should be allowed to name their representatives as candidates in the election. If the members of the Senate are chosen through an election, it will respect the will of the international community to have a fair distribution of power.

3. If the circumstance require nominations of Senate members to meet a political condition soon (?) then the Sam Rainsy Party supports the nominations which reflect the will of the people and avoid having the executive branch nominate the legislative branch, or having the lower house nominate the upper house, or having the president of the upper house nominate his own members, all of which run completely counter to democratic principles.

In conclusion, the Sam Rainsy Party expressed its deep gratitude for the King's intervention and wish the King and the Queen long lives so they can shelter their children, their grandchildren and great-grandchildren in the cool shade.

Phnom Penh, December 22, 1998

President of Sam Rainsy Party

[signed, Sam Rainsy]

Copies for information to:

Samdech Krompreah Norodom Ranariddh, President of the National Assembly, Acting Head of State Samdech Chea Sim, CPP President, High Representative of the King Samdech Heng Samrin, Acting President of the National Assembly Samdech Hun Sen, Prime Minister

Phnom Penh, December 22, 1998


We members of the Cambodian Parliament whose names appear below appeal to the members of the United States Senate to support and approve draft motion S.R. 309 to collect all evidence against Mr. Hun Sen as a criminal who seriously violated international law on human rights and to support an international tribunal to consider this evidence, which could form the basis for a prosecution.

We the petitioners all know the crimes committed by Hun Sen during his time as a military commander in the Khmer Rouge army in the eastern Kompong Cham province from 1975 to 1977, because we are all victims of the Khmer Rouge regime of Pol Pot and we know very well that all the military commanders still alive now are implicated in the mass killings. Some of them, such as Hun Sen, feared for their own lives because of the Khmer Rouge's internal purges and fled to Vietnam in 1977 and 1978, after participating in the mass killings for more than two years.

What is more serious and evident are the criminal acts committed by Hun Sen during his time as political leader of Cambodia from the beginning of 1979 until now. Among his criminal acts is the Kor 5 (or "Bamboo Wall") project carried out in Cambodia from mid-1984 until 1988. That undertaking was another killing field. It was smaller than the Pol Pot killing field, but even so hundreds of thousands of innocent Cambodians lost their lives or their limbs under a regime with Hun Sen as prime minister.

Other criminal acts for which Hun Sen is responsible are as follows: 1- killing hundreds of FUNCINPEC members and BLDP (Son Sann) members during and after the 1993 election campaign,

2- killing many journalists starting in 1994, 3- attacking peaceful demonstrators in Phnom Penh with grenades, causing at least 16 dead and wounding more than 100 on March 30, 1997 as stated in the FBI report,

4- staging a coup d'etat in July 1997 led by Hun Sen in person, and killing at least one hundred (perhaps many more) military commanders and ordinary soldiers who were made prisoners after the fighting in July 1997, 5- killing many activists of FUNCINPEC and the Sam Rainsy Party during the 1998 election campaign, and

6- ordering a violent crackdown on the democracy protesters during September 1998 causing many losses of life as stated in several UN Human Rights reports.

Impunity for the worst crimes must not remain the rule in Cambodia. Unless there is justice in human rights cases happening now, our country will not be able to achieve any real and sustainable development. The power of the gun, the power of money and the power of fraud will stay in control of Cambodia.

As we stated above, we request to the members of the United States Senate to help find justice for the Cambodian people.

Sam Rainsy, MP

Tioulong Saumura, MP

Son Chhay, MP

Yim Sokha, MP

Hor Sopheap, MP

Sun Kim Hun, MP

Sith Ybrahim, MP

Monh Siyonn, MP

Lim Sokun, MP

Yim Sovann, MP

Hong Sok Hieng, MP

Lon Phun, MP

Kim Sour Phirith, MP

Cheam Channy, MP

Sam Sun Doeun, MPDear friend,

Thank you for your December 25 message about the Petition to United States Senate by 15 members of the Cambodian Parliament to support Resolution 309.

I appreciate your suggestion that we should concentrate on the issues of corruption and poverty in Cambodia and I agree with your ideas about how to deal with these vital problems. I would add many other points and could elaborate on different projects to develop Cambodia as I have done in several documents published previously.

But It would be useful for everybody to meditate upon this excerpt from our Petition:

"Impunity for the worst crimes must not remain the rule in Cambodia.

Unless there is justice in human rights cases happening now, our country will not be able to achieve any real and sustainable development. The power of the gun,

the power of money and the power of fraud will stay in control of Cambodia."

In order for our country to achieve development and reduce poverty, we imperatively and desperately need the rule of law, the absence of which is at the root of corruption and poverty. But the rule of law requires an end to impunity. Infortunately, the powerful and rich people in our country are above the law and continue to enjoy total impunity even for the worst crimes.

When cleaning a country, like cleaning a house, you have to do it from top to bottom. I have asked our political leaders to declare their assets, as I have done it myself, but they refuse to comply with this request for transparency because they have many things to hide which must be linked to corruption. In dealing with corruption, you have to make a distinction between predatory corruption (committed by people at the top level of the State who fraudulently collect millions of dollars) and survival corruption (committed by low-ranking State employees who may have to grab a few dollars occasionally just to survive). Survival corruption is used by our top leaders as a pretext for continuing predatory corruption. If you stop predatory corruption (for instance $ 100,000,000 to $ 200,000,000 are collected every year from illegal logging, $ 40,000,000 per year are stolen from our rubber plantations), you can start to solve the problem of survival corruption: to double the salaries of over 300,000 State employees made up of civil servants, policemen and soldiers, you need only $ 50,000,000 per year, before implementing any civil service reform .

It is not because our country is poor that there is corruption uncorrectly viewed as an unavoidable evil; on the contrary it is because there is such a widespread corruption at the top level of the government that our country remains so poor.

In order to combat corruption and alleviate poverty, we must enforce the law and bring to justice those people, like Hun Sen, who have committed the worst crimes: political mass killings, terrorist acts, drug trafficking, catastrophic deforestation, public fund embezzlements like the tens of millions of dollars of "tax exemptions" which are granted every year to Hun Sen's friends who are notorious drug traffickers such as Theng Bunma. Unlike Pol Pot, Hun Sen is still alive and still in power. We have to democratically, legally and peacefully break this vicious circle "corruption - poverty - criminality" sometime somewhere, if we are to put Cambodia back on her feet.

Given the dictatorial system in Cambodia, the very heavy dependence of the Cambodian government on international financial assistance, and the role of the United States of America as the conscience of the world, many Cambodian democrats think that Senate Resolution 309, after House Resolution 553 adopted last October, can effectively contribute to stop the disintegration of Cambodia under Hun Sen' s rule.

Sam Rainsy

Member of Parliament

Leader of the Opposition

Former Minister of Finance


December 25, 1998


Current Cambodian strongman Hun Sen is more and more beleaguered on the international arena. The US Senate is expected to pass a resolution in January 1999, as the US House of Representatives did on October 2, 1998, supporting judicial proceedings against the former Khmer Rouge officer and present dictator for serious violations of international laws on human rights since 1979.

The investigation of Hun Sen's past should lead to examination of a relatively little-known period in Cambodian history: the time just after the Pol Pot regime, the Vietnamese occupation and the People's Republic of Kampuchea (1979-1989).

Although overshadowed by the great genocide which took place between 1975 and 1978 under Pol Pot, the subsequent period also brought genocide of the same form, though of lesser scope. It was perpetrated by Pol Pot's successors and former colleagues, among them Hun Sen.

From 1984 to 1988 the pro-Vietnamese authorities implemented a deadly plan

called "K5". This more recent bloody chapter of the history of Cambodia is opened in doctor Esmeralda Luciolli's book "Le Mur de Bambou - Le Cambodge après Pol Pot" (The Bamboo Wall: Cambodia after Pol Pot) published in 1988 by Regine Deforges Edition - Medecins sans Frontières (Distributed by Albin Michel).

The K5 plan killed tens or hundreds of thousands of victims. Cambodians sent into forced labor died of starvation, exhaustion, disease (particularly malaria) and lost their limbs and lives to the antipersonnel mines scattered on the sites where they were sent. Many of these laborers were executed for trying to escape.

During that period Hun Sen was a member of the central committee of the communist party and was promoted from Minister of Foreign Affairs to Prime Minister. As one of the main leaders he must bear responsibility for the massacre.

There are still thousands of families in Cambodia whose missing father, husband or son reminds them of the K5 plan, and there are thousands of handicapped people whose missing eye, hand or leg reminds them of the K5 plan. Will justice be rendered one day to these victims?

We have translated the most significant excerpts from "The Bamboo Wall" in the following paragraphs.


The decision to build what would be soon called the "bamboo wall" was never publicly announced. In July 1984, mysterious rumors some bits of which reached us circulated among the Cambodians. From now on each one must go to the border for several months a year, in regions mined and highly infected by malaria, to build some new sort of Chinese Wall between Cambodia and Thailand. The idea looked so foolish that many foreigners thought they were seeing only an example of the Khmers' supposed tendency to exaggerate. After a few weeks, they had to accept the facts: departures began and these labors soon became an obsessive fear of all Cambodians.

The Vietnamese army had started to enlist Khmer civilians to do strategic work since 1979. Early on, in the autumn of 1982, the population was made to participate in "socialist service". This work consisted of building dams, roads and earthworks near their dwellings and proved to be useful to the inhabitants. But very quickly, this task took a strategic turn and the peasants were ordered to clear the surrounding forests and build protective barriers around the most important dwelling centers. Starting in 1983, the population was made to create fences out of two or three rows of prickly shrubs or bamboo, sometimes lined by mine fields, around the villages. The people were also forced to set up defensive barriers along the railroads, around the bridges and at strategic points of the highways. (...) However, the first chores lasted only a short time and did not require any displacement of the population.

In 1984, a new stage was reached: the population of the country was mobilized for gigantic labors officially designated as "work to defend the fatherland". At the beginning of that year, the Vietnamese authorities decided to seal the Thai border. The dry season offensive of 1984-1985 destroyed the major camps of the resistance located in those areas. To reinforce this victory they had to tightly seal the country against infiltration by the guerrillas and prevent the population from fleeing to the border.

To this end, the decision to set up a "defense line" eight hundred kilometers long was made in Hanoi, in early 1984, by the Vietnamese Communist Party's central committee. (See "Cambodia, a new colony for exploitation" by Marie- Alexandrine Martin, Politique internationale, July 1986 and "The military occupation of Kampuchea", Indochina Report, September 1986). The construction of that Asian "wall" was to be implemented in several steps : first, clearing of a strip of land three to four kilometers wide along the border, through forests and mountains; then excavating trenches, setting up dams, building bamboo fences lined with barbed wires and mine fields; and finally opening a strategic road running along the "wall", to convey troops and ammunition and monitor the frontier.

Cambodian authorities were in charge of the project implementation. Everything leads us to believe that this work was to be done as rapidly as possible, whatever the cost in human lives and the economic consequences, in order to "fight against Polpotist bandits in the forest, who since the destruction of their camps all along the Thai border infiltrate the country to steal food and please their masters in Peking or Washington" (Radio Phnom Penh, 21 September 1986). These Herculean labors recall the gigantic ones undertaken during Pol Pot's time. Haven't the present leaders a common past and ideology with the ones in charge of the preceding regime?

The requisitioning of civilians started in September 1984. The Cambodians often refer to the departure to the "clearing" duty as a new "April 17". (17 April 1975 marks the entry of the Khmer Rouge in Phnom Penh and to most Cambodians the beginning of an ordeal).

The work is designated by the mysterious acronym "K5", which the Cambodians, when asked, did not know the meaning of. Each Cambodian province was assigned the task of building a section of the wall. Twice or three times a year a contingent of workers, so-called "volunteers", were recruited for periods varying from three to six months, according to the quota set by the central government for each province in proportion to the local population. The provinces in turn determine the quotas for each district, the districts doing the same for the communes and the communes for the villages. In theory, only men aged 17 to 45 years old were requisitioned but it frequently happens that women or teenagers are designated for want of any other person available in the family. For the whole country, each departure gathered an average of 100,000 to 120,000 persons. (...)

According to an official of the Ministry of Defense who took refuge in Thailand, the work, at the national level, is placed under the responsibility of Bou Thang, Hun Sen and Heng Samrin, respectively Minister of Defense, Secretary General of the Communist Party and President of the Republic. (...)

When they arrive at the sites, nothing is planned to accommodate and shelter the workers. "When we arrived", said Touch Saroeun (a participant), "thousands of workers had preceded us. We were maybe ten thousand coming from several provinces. There was no shelter at all. It was useless to seek to build a cabin, because we were moved every day. Some of us had hammocks, others had nothing. They slept on the ground, on bits of plastic sheets or even on the soil." (...)

Food remains very insufficient. (...) The stocks run out quickly. "We were told that there would be every thing on the spot, tells a villager from Takeo. But once there, there was nearly nothing to eat." (...) Thory, a young woman from Battambang, said that in her group, "several people died of starvation.

It was like under the Pol Pot regime." (...) It was forbidden to seek food during work time. A Khmer Krom who participated in the clearing work in Non Sap area, a site renowned for its hardship, recalls: "One day, I walked away for a short while to try to fish in a pond. The soldiers saw me. I was caught and beaten for a long time. That often happens because many people were hungry." (...)

In some areas, the local authorities were unable to supply food to the workers. These starvation rations were supposed to be enough to carry out an exhausting and dangerous work: the "volunteers" have to clear mined lands, excavate trenches, build roads, carry equipment, ammunition, corpses, demine the land and put mines in it again along the "wall".

Everywhere the testimonies are identical. The workers are dispatched in small teams and worked eight to ten hours a day. Each one is assigned a determined amount of work to be accomplished during the day, otherwise the penalties such as blows or extra chores are frequent. In Samrong, Nong Rus had to "clear the land, carry crates of ammunition and sometimes corpses of soldiers or workers blown up on a mine". (...)

The sites were watched over by Khmer soldiers, themselves supervised by the Vietnamese army. Fleeing, practically excluded, was impossible during day time, and very risky at night time because of the mines. Several refugees told of having been herded for the night on lands surrounded by mines. "Any attempt to escape amounted to a suicide. A mine belt had been laid around the camps which were accessible only through a narrow path. A few Vietnamese soldiers were enough to watch over us", said Chhay. In another group, "seventy people were given the order to watch over the others. They were given guns. They were themselves monitored by the Vietnamese. If anyone tried to flee, he was often shot on the spot. Others have been caught and taken to jail in Battambang."

Sunnara, from Prey Veng, was obliged to guard the "volunteers". "We did not have any choice, the Vietnamese were after us. The rare persons who tried to escape were recaptured and savagely beaten, then taken to jail. Some have been executed." Sareth, from Pursat, was demining: "Often those who were blown on the mines were accused of wanting to flee. In fact, these were accidents because we did not know at all where the mines were." (...)

Since the beginning of the work in September 1984, the K5 plan, described by some people as a "new genocide", made tens of thousands of victims. (See "Un nouveau genocide", Philippe Pacquet, La Libre Belgique, 26 May 1986).

Accidents caused by mines were frequent. Nobody knows where they are laid because the Khmer-Thai frontier has been successively mined for years by the Khmer Rouge, the Vietnamese, and the non-communist resistance. (...)

Many died on Non Sap site during the first year of work, toward the end of 1984. "Corpses could be found in several places", said Thory. "We had to cremate them. Sometimes I had to carry ammunition for quite long distances. Along the way, in the forest, we found corpses of the workers who preceded us and blew up on mines." Her testimony is confirmed by that of other persons who had worked in the same area. In a group of villagers from Bavel, ten people died that way, and eight in another group.

It also happened that trucks carrying "volunteers" blew up on mines. In Sitha's convoy, two trucks were disintegrated. Out of the hundred people carried by each truck, more than half of them died and most of the others were injured. In March 1985, on the way to Pursat, a nurse from Prey Veng saw the truck that preceded his blow up. About twenty "volunteers" were killed and another fifty wounded. (...)

The victims of landmines had little chance of surviving their injuries. First- aid posts located on the sites did not have the required personnel or equipment to tend them. It took sometimes several days to evacuate a wounded person to the nearest provincial hospital. Moreover, competent surgeons are rare. Like all their colleagues they devote part of their time to political activities and are not always available. Even if they were, they did not have any blood for transfusion, or antibiotics or oxygen, or sometimes even gauze and disinfectant. The people severely injured die. (...) In 1985, in Kandal, about a hundred injured people from the first contingent died and tens of others had amputations. In Prey Veng, fifty-six workers from the second contingent died on landmines. (...)

However, mines did not take the heaviest toll on human lives, but malaria did. This is not surprising at all, when the areas where the clearing were done were known to be infested by malaria. (...) Since the beginning of the labor at the border, the same phenomenon occurred as during deportations by the Khmer Rouge regime: "volunteers" [coming from the central plains where malaria is rare in normal time] uprooted overnight to severely malaria-infested zones are very sensitive to the disease. Virtually all of them are infected in no time and the development of serious cases is furthered by malnutrition and exhaustion. All the witnesses talk about malaria as a real scourge. Moreover, once ill, the "volunteers" are forced to continue to toil to the point of exhaustion. (...)

While in the beginning the K5 plan was very secret and little mentioned on the radio, by mid-1985 reports similar to those celebrating enthusiasm on the working sites of the Khmer Rouge regime started to be heard: "Our people now live in joy. They thrive to overcome all the obstacles by voluntarily participating in the work of defense of the fatherland, at the same time building a new life on this earth they have become the master of." (Radio Phnom Penh, 22 August 1986).

Of all of the contingents, the first one, leaving on September 1984, was hit the hardest. These first "volunteers" were decimated by malaria, starvation and landmines. During the first semester of 1985, tens of thousands of workers returned home, as well as they could. (...) During our outings in the provinces, the sight of infirmaries recalled the Thai borders during 1979: everywhere malnourished men, exhausted, often packed on the bare ground. Wherever we went, in the provinces, in the districts, 80% to 90% of the "volunteers" returned ill. The mortality rate was very high, between 5 and 10%. In Kandal province, out of 12,000 workers, there were 9,000 cases of malaria and 700 dead. In a district of Takeo, out of 1,100 who left for labor, 900 came back with malaria and 56 died. In one of Kompong Chhnang's districts, 10% of the "volunteers" had succumbed to malaria. (See "Malaria decimates border workers", AFP, Lucien Maillard, 27 August 1985; "Forced Human Bondage", Far Eastern Economic Review, 22 August 1985; Marie-Alexandrine Martin, "Une nouvelle colonie d'exploitation", Politique internationale, summer 1985). (...)

A few officials were reported to have shown some opposition to the continuation of the work notwithstanding the cost in human lives. The then- Prime Minister himself, Chan Sy, would have been one of those, which was why many Cambodians saw with suspicion his sudden demise in 1985. (...)

The toll for the first two years of the K5 plan was heavy. According to the least alarming estimates, at least one million people participated in the labor from September 1984 to end of 1986. (The ninth contingent left for the border in October 1986. Let us bear in mind that each contingent numbered an average of 120,000 persons). The mortality rate from malaria amounted to around 5%, so there would have been a minimum of 50,000 dead during this period. According to an official from the Ministry of Defense, now a refugee in Thailand, his department estimated in March 1986 that 30,000 people died since the beginning of the labor. This assessment does not take into account tens of thousands of sick, wounded and crippled people. (...)

In Phnom Penh, at the orphanage for "juniors", the number of abandoned children has considerately increased since the beginning of the work . The death of the husband at the clearing work constitutes the main reason given by the mothers who can no longer work and take care of the child a the same time. (...)

During our outings in the provinces, it was rarer and rarer to see men tilling the fields and most of the time women planted, bedded plants or harvested, on their own. In each home, the departure of a person, most of the time a man, for many months, lowers the family production and even after their returns, the men often lack the strength to work again for many weeks. (...)

(In 1985, according to an official of the Ministry of Agriculture), only 60 to 70% of the rice fields cultivated the preceding year were being sown, because the workforce was considerably decreased by the requisitions for clearing, armed forces and the defense militia of the villages. (...) At the end of 1985, the Ministry of Agriculture forecast a deficit of 250,000 tons of paddy for the harvest to come. (...) General mobilization of the population for labor at the border was responsible for a great deal of the agricultural deficit. (...)

Of all the aspects of the Vietnamese occupation, the K5 plan is no doubt the most worrying. Officially, the construction of the wall was to meet the need to defend the country against infiltration by the resistance forces based at the Khmer-Thai border. (...) Even if we suppose that the resistance constitutes a real threat to Phnom Penh, all the military experts, all the observers agree to say that the "wall", a mere bamboo fence, is incapable of stopping infiltration. Besides, no defense line is efficient unless it is guarded all along its length. The construction itself went more slowly than planned, and, three years after the work started, only a few sections were completed. (...) The defense line could not benefit from any strategic credibility in so far as infiltration from outside was concerned.

Under these conditions, it would be wise to look elsewhere for the reason for this murderous extravaganza. The "defense line", if it did not hamper the resistance, constitutes a real obstacle for the population to escape to Thailand. (...)

Among the Cambodians, a few people believe the Vietnamese intended by this means to insidiously eliminate one part of the life force in Cambodia. This premise can be questioned all the more by the reminiscence of Khmer Rouge methods in the construction of this wall. But adversely, it is undoubtedly true that through this undertaking the regime was able to maintain the population in a permanent state of mobilization and maybe this is where we should find the main justification of this undertaking.

Whatever it was meant for, the K5 plan looks like a strategically absurd undertaking, triggered mainly by internal political reasons, hard to explain, for which the Khmer people have already paid the tribute in tens of thousands of human lives. (See "A fence to be tested", Jacques Beckaert, Bangkok Post, 15 May 1986, and "The military occupation of Kampuchea", Indochina Report, September 1986). Maybe the rationale behind the K5 plan was one of the self- contradictions of this regime, which leads many Cambodians to compare it to the Khmer Rouge.

In 1986, thousands of refugees arrived at the Khmer-Thai border. Fear of returning to the labor of "defense of the fatherland" came first among the reasons that made them flee. (...) Despite the testimonies of these refugees, the K5 plan raised little interest abroad. A few rare journalists have described the work without triggering any international reaction to this new tragedy of the Khmer people. (The first journalist to have mentioned it at length in a French daily was Jean-Claude Pomonti, in an article entitled "Le mur vietnamien" (the Vietnamese Wall) published in Le Monde, 5-6 May 1986). Shortly before my departure from Phnom Penh, a Cambodian bitterly confided to me: "Nobody did anything for us during Pol Pot era, the same now, you can bet!".



December 27, 1998


Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy, the president of the Sam Rainsy Party, will be interviewed live on CNN International TV on Monday, December 28, 1998. From Paris, Rainsy will answer questions from viewers from all over the world for 30 minutes as part of CNN's Q&A show.

The interview will be broadcast at 2:30 p.m. GMT, which is: 9.30 am in New York

3:30 pm in Paris

9:30 pm in Phnom Penh

12:30 am Tuesday morning in Sydney


December 27, 1998


The Sam Rainsy Party absolutely supports an international tribunal for Khmer Rouge leaders including Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea. We believe that the evidence is sufficient to hold them in custody, according to national and international law, pending a trial for crimes against humanity. The government of Cambodia should not use them as political bargaining chips, but should work closely with the international community to bring them to account.

But the critically important task of prosecuting Khmer Rouge leaders must not detract from the task of identifying and prosecuting other leaders who have records of great crimes against humanity.

*We support a legal approach to bringing to justice all of those Cambodian leaders against whom there is substantial evidence of guilt, regardless of their age or their present status. This certainly includes leaders of the Khmer Rouge. It also includes leaders of the current regime in Cambodia-such as Prime Minister Hun Sen-when there is evidence they have committed extensive crimes: mass political killings, terrorist acts, drug trafficking, catastrophic deforestation, public fund embezzlement and more.*

The Cambodian people have been the victims of terrible crimes perpetrated by their leaders and by outside countries. We have long been forced to balance "national reconciliation" against justice for those who have committed these crimes. The Cambodian cycle of impunity must be broken. True national reconcilation is possible only when justice is done.

We have waited far too long to see justice done in the case of the Khmer Rouge, whose major crimes took place in the 1970s. It would be inexcusable if we have to wait a similar amount of time to see justice done in the case of those who committed their major crimes in the 1980s and continue to violate our rights on a large scale today. Justice delayed has for too long been justice denied.


For further comment, please call MP Son Chhay on 855-12-858-857.

Apologies to all; the Rainsy interview will start half an hour earlier than previously announced:


Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy, the president of the Sam Rainsy Party, will be interviewed live on CNN International TV on Monday, December 28, 1998. From Paris, Rainsy will answer questions from viewers from all over the world for 30 minutes as part of CNN's Q&A show.

The interview will be broadcast Monday at 2:00 p.m. GMT, which is: 9:00 am in New York

3:00 pm in Paris

9:00 pm in Phnom Penh

12 midnight in Sydney

(From the CNN website Apologies for the confusion over the time of this program!)

Hosted by: Riz Khan

Q&A Airs:


2030 GMT

2030 London

2130 Berlin

1730 Buenos Aires

0430 Hong Kong

0200 New Delhi

Interact with CNN's Q&A!

During the show, you can participate in Q&A's real-time chat where host Riz Khan integrates your comments and questions into the live television format. If you can't join us real-time, won't you join the Q&A discussion in one of CNN's Community message boards.


On the Monday, December 28, 1998 edition of Q&A-ASIA at 1400 GMT: Sam Rainsy

Cambodia is our focus in the first half-hour of Q&A-Asia. We'll be joined by leading Cambodian opposition leader, Sam Rainsy. What does he make of the new political alliance of Hun Sen and Prince Ranarridh? How should Cambodia deal with the legacy left by the Khmer Rouge? What are Sam Rainsy's political plans? Sam Rainsy joins us from Paris to discuss Cambodian politics. He welcomes your questions and comments now via fax at 1-404-827-4056 or e-mail.

In our second half-hour, we'll discuss China's renewed crackdown on dissidents. Among our guests, Jin Xu, daughter of Xu Wenli, an outspoken Chinese dissident, who was recently ordered back to jail for attempting to form an opposition party. Joining the Q&A-Asia forum to give us the Beijing perspective on the policy and treatment of dissidents will be Tsang Yok Sing, a member of the Hong Kong Legislature. Both guests welcome your questions now via e-mail or fax.

Send your comments to:

Chat in our Q&A chat room

Fax your comments to: 1-404-827-4056

Comments posted here will be reviewed by Q&A producers for possible inclusion on air during CNN International's Q&A.


December 28, 1998


Today is the seventh day since the Opposition submitted its question about logging and deforestation to the Government, as per Article 96 of the Constitution of Cambodia (see below).

The Government must be accountable to the Assembly if it is to be considered a constitutional Government. We understand that the President of the National Assembly Norodom Ranariddh has received our question and passed it to Acting President Heng Samrin. The President's obligation under the Constitution is to forward it to the Government to be answered within seven days of its being received.

This afternoon, Son Chhay, MP, will take up this matter with the Permanent Committee of the National Assembly, of which he is a member. For information, please call Son Chhay on 855-12-858-857.

* * *


(December 21, 1998)

In 1995 the National Assembly set each Friday as the day for question time, as required by Article 96 of the Constitution (see below). However, despite repeated requests by different Members of the Assembly, question time was never observed, and members of the Government were never called before the Assembly to answer on behalf of the Government. Today's submission of a question on the policy of Cambodia toward logging and deforestion marks the beginning of what we hope will be both a fruitful dialogue between the legislative and executive branches of government and an opportunity to make the Government more accountable to its people and to its international donors. Each Monday the Opposition will put a question to the government. Each Friday (unless the Assembly designates a different day) we will expect a written or verbal answer, during the Assembly's session. We are happy to consider suggestions of questions from any concerned citizens or observers.

Constitution of Cambodia, Article 96:

The deputies have the right to put a motion against the Royal Government. The motion shall be submitted in writing through the President of the Assembly. The replies shall be given by one or several ministers depending on the matters related to the accountability of one or several ministers. If the case concerns the overall policy of the Royal Government, the Prime Minister shall reply in person. The explanations by the ministers or by the Prime Minister shall be given verbally or in writing. The explanations shall be provided within 7 days after the day when the question is received. In case of verbal reply, the President of the assembly shall decide whether to hold an open debate or not. If there is no debate, the answer of the minister or the Prime Minister shall be considered final. It there is a debate, the questioner, other speakers, the ministers, or the Prime Minister may exchange views within the time frame not exceeding one session. The assembly shall establish one day each week for questions and answers. There shall be no vote during any session reserved for this purpose. (Also see Chapter 9 of the Rules and Procedure of the National Procedure.)

Please note that Article 89 separately empowers 1/10 of the Member of the Assembly, or 13 of them, to invite a high-ranking official to answer particular questions.

Kingdom of Cambodia

National Assembly

Phnom Penh, December 29, 1998

To : Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh Chairman of the National Assembly

Subject : Questions to the Royal Cambodian Government (RCG) regarding impunity for Khmer Rouge leaders.

Reference : Article 96 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

As stated in the above subject and reference, we, Members of the National Assembly with our names and signatures at the bottom of this letter, wish to ask the RCG the following questions:

1- On what legal ground the RCG has continuously granted de facto amnesty to Khmer Rouge officials and military forces, which is a blatant violation of the Law Outlawing the Khmer Rouge (LOKR) adopted by the National Assembly and promulgated on July 7, 1994 ?

2- Knowing that Article 6 of the LOKR says that "Khmer Rouge leaders cannot be amnestied", how can the RCG dare to grant de facto amnesty to these people and therefore strengthen the culture of impunity for political criminals in Cambodia ?

3- What is now the status of the RCG's request to the United Nations to set up an international tribunal to try Khmer Rouge leaders ?

4- Is it because there are members of the present RCG who have committed Khmer Rouge type crimes, that the RCG does not dare to push for the trial of notorious Khmer Rouge leaders, therefore establishing impunity as a rule ?

5- How can the RCG respond to legitimate concerns expressed by the Cambodian people and the international community that the RCG is now behaving as an accomplice of the Khmer Rouge who have committed crimes against humanity and therefore that the RCG is violating national and international laws on human rights ?

We ask you to kindly and quickly forward these questions to the RCG. According to the Constitution, the RCG must answer our questions within seven days.

Please, Samdech, receive the assurances of our highest consideration.


Sam Rainsy, Tioulong Saumura, Son Chhay, Yim Sokha, Hor Sopheap, Sun Kim Hun, Sith Ybrahim, Lon Phon, Kim Sour Phirith, Cheam Channy, Sam Sun Doeun, Hong Sok Hieng, Lim Sokun, Yim Sovann, Monh Siyonn.

The following Letter to the Editor by Sam Rainsy was published in The Cambodia Daily on January 4, 1998, under the title, "Make Justice System, Int'l Community Prove Consistency"

The Cambodia Daily described as an about-face my demand for the arrest and trial of Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea (in "Let Bygones Be Bygones," December 30).

I have made no about-face. I have only said that Hun Sen should be consistent: If Ieng Sary could get an amnesty (which protects him from Cambodian law, not from international law), then Khieu Samphan should be entitled to the same amnesty, because nobody can say that Khieu Samphan is worse than Ieng Sary.

The problem is that Cambodia's leadership puts political and partisan considerations above justice. Ieng Sary, Khieu Samphan, Hun Sen and every leader who appears to have committed gross violations of human rights should be investigated and held to account, equal in the eyes of the law.

King Norodom Sihanouk wisely has refused to involve himself in any further Khmer Rouge amnesties. Unfortunately, the King's principled stand may be purely symbolic. Hun Sen's recent statements indicate that even as he makes his usual claim that the courts are independent, which is patently false, he will block any meaningful Cambodian prosecution of Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea, making amnesty irrelevant.

Whether Hun Sen can block prosecution in Cambodia will be a test for the Justice Ministry and the new minister of justice, Funcinpec's Uk Vithun.

The 1994 law against the Khmer Rouge, which Hun Sen and Prince Norodom Ranariddh supported, is now in effect. It is the obligation of the Government to apply this and all laws fairly under the Constitution. Prince Ranariddh himself was convicted under this law in March--is he more guilty of Khmer Rouge crimes than Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea?

In any case, neither a Cambodian amnesty nor the corruption of the Justice Ministry should be allowed to protect Khieu Samphan, Nuon Chea and the rest from an international tribunal. The crimes of the Khmer Rouge are crimes against all of humanity, and they must be held to account by all of humanity in an international tribunal, preferably on neutral ground outside Cambodia.

Whether this tribunal occurs will be a test for the international community. So far it has fallen directly into the trap laid by Hun Sen. While he held out the prospect of his cooperation in a Khmer Rouge trial, the international community downplayed both his historic criminal record and the systematic violence of his regime against the opposition during the elections.

This allowed him to steal the legitimacy he craved. Are the diplomats genuinely surprised that Hun Sen is now snatching away the reward?

It's time to see if the international community truly supports a tribunal, or if they too were only using it as a political bargaining chip.

But if the world wants a tribunal, it will need to press hard. Hun Sen does not want a precedent to be set. He maintains a 100 percent record of preventing fair trials in human rights cases. He is no different than Augusto Pinochet, PW Botha and other repressive leaders. They all prefer to bury the truth next to their victims.

Cambodians want national reconciliation and what it is supposed to bring: stability and peace. But to win lasting national reconciliation we must know the truth and render justice to the people responsible for crimes against humanity and to their victims. We must put an end to the impunity that allows this cycle of violence to persist.

Stability and peace, yes! But not the stability of slavery. Not the peace of the cemetery.

Sam Rainsy

Opposition leader, National Assembly

(Official translation from Khmer)

Phnom Penh, January 4, 1999

To: Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh Chairman of the National Assembly.

Subject : Questions to the Royal Cambodian Government (RCG) regarding the present food shortage in Cambodia.

Reference : Article 96 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

As stated in the above subject and reference, we, Members of the National Assembly with our names and signatures at the bottom of this letter, wish to ask the RCG the following questions :

1- Has the RCG measured the level of the present food shortage in Cambodia ? (According to The Bangkok Post on December 29, 1998, "the UN World Food Programme now is assisting 1.7 million people [in Cambodia]" and "one-fifth of

Cambodians younger than five are acutely malnourished from lack of food and nearly half have stunted growth from years of insufficient diet." It is also reported that according to the United Nations Children's Fund, "the nutrition situation [in Cambodia] is the worst in Southeast Asia.").

2- What are the causes of the current food crisis and the extreme poverty of the Cambodian people :

a) the weather ?

b) deforestation ?

c) corruption ?

d) an incorrect and unadequate government policy in the field of agriculture ?

e) poor governance in general ?

(According to international aid workers quoted by the Bangkok Post "unless the [Phnom Penh] government begins to deal with the severity of rural poverty, little can be done to turn the [food] situation around." They also stress that "the police and military receive most of the national budget, while health, education and rural development -- 11 percent of the government's 1998 budget -- is mostly left to aid agencies.").

3- Apart from nice words and empty promises, which concrete and urgent measures does the RCG intend to implement to resolve the current food crisis and to alleviate poverty in our country ?

We ask you to kindly and quickly forward these questions to the RCG. According to the Constitution, the RCG must answer our questions within seven days. This is the third time over a period of three weeks that we submit questions to the RCG but we have not received any response yet.

Please, Samdech, receive the assurances of our highest consideration.


Sam Rainsy, Tioulong Saumura, Son Chhay, Yim Sokha, Hor Sopheap, Sun Kim Hun, Sith Ybrahim, Lon Phon, Kim Sour Phirith, Cheam Channy, Sam Sun Doeun, Hong Sok Hieng, Lim Sokun, Yim Sovann, Monh Siyonn.


January 5, 1998


The Phnom Penh-based publication "The Vision" printed on Monday, January 4 an interview with Sam Rainsy. The headline and text of the front-page interview misrepresented the views of Sam Rainsy.

* Sam Rainsy did not say that the Law to Outlaw the Khmer Rouge must be abolished.
* Sam Rainsy has never supported any kind of amnesty or immunity for criminals such as Khmer Rouge leaders.
* Sam Rainsy has never had any relations with the Khmer Rouge or anyone acting on behalf of the Khmer Rouge organization.

The interview was offered on condition that Rainsy's statements not be "excerpted or summarized in any way." Unfortunately the publication's editor disregarded that condition, in a way calculated to damage Rainsy's reputation and to reverse the actual positions of Rainsy and Hun Sen with regard to impunity for crimes against humanity.

We trust that legitimate journalists will not allow their understanding of Rainsy's position to be influenced by this distinct misrepresentation.


Dear Mohan,

Here are the answers to the questions you submitted for Sam Rainsy. You are welcome to print any or all of them in the Vision only on condition that for each question and answer you print, the entire question and answer is printed as it appears below, not excerpted or summarized in any way.

Thank you,

Rich Garella

1) You have previously mentioned that all Khmer Rouge leaders should be amnestied. What is your position now and how different is it from that you had adopted in 1994 when the Law to Outlaw the Khmer Rouge was initiated and passed. If I were to recall, you were one of the handfull who objected to it.

In 1994, with a handful of other MPs, I opposed the draft of the law outlawing the Khmer Rouge before it was adopted by the National Assembly. I argued that firstly, the draft law was unconstitutional because of the principle of unity of the Cambodian nation, which cannot be divided into two parts, one of which is "outlawed". Secondly, the draft law would open the door to all kinds of abuses, corruption and gross human rights violations. Not only Khmer Rouge soldiers would be targeted but also many innocent civilians, whose only fault was to live in KR-controlled or disputed areas, would be accused of feeding and/or hiding the KR. Then they would be subject to harassment or extortion by security forces. Many provisions of the draft law were amended to take into account my concerns (for instance, only somebody taken prisoner in a battle with a weapon in his hand can be declared a KR and fall under the law). Eventually, all the MPs including myself voted for the law. Of course we have seen that Hun Sen ended up using this law as a weapon against his political enemies.

2) How does the law to outlaw the Khmer Rouge come into play now, especially with the sudden defection and surrender of KR leaders.

Unless this law is abolished, Khmer Rouge leaders cannot legally enjoy the de facto amnesty that Hun Sen has proposed. Although he has changed his rhetoric in the past few days, saying that it is up to the courts, everyone knows that up to now Hun Sen has controlled the courts completely. If they receive this illegal de facto amnesty, then we will know he still controls the courts and he still opposes a trial for them, despite his public reversal.

3) Do you think that the KR is truly dead and buried or do you think that they are just regrouping under supposed legitimacy for future actions.

Before accepting Khmer Rouge leaders back into society, Hun Sen must have carefully assessed the situation. You'd better ask him this question. However I believe the integration of the Khmer Rouge can only make the Hun Sen regime more authoritarian and less sensitive to human rights. They certainly have some things in common.

4) Do you agree with the policy of allowing the KR leaders to stay in Pailin or do you think that they should be spread out and isolated from one another for national security.

I am not prepared to make an assessment of the military situation at this time. However, I am concerned that Pailin is being used as a refuge for KR leaders who should, under the law, be arrested. Pailin is part of Cambodia and Cambodian laws apply there. But if the KR leaders stay there, Hun Sen can obstruct a Cambodian or international trial by threatening that to arrest them would spark a civil war. In the past few days, both Hun Sen and Long Narin (Ieng Sary's assistant) have started to make this threat.

5) What steps would you propose to be adopted for national reconciliation.

National reconciliation must be based on truth and justice. All human rights violators from 1975 to 1999 must be tried first. The first step is to uncover the truth, and the best way to do that is to have internationally sponsored trials outside of Cambodia, with full participation of Cambodian authorities.

6) How is your relationship with your one time ally FUNCINPEC and Prince Ranariddh.

My colleagues and I are in the SRP because we believe this party is the best hope for the Cambodian people to achieve democracy. Unfortunately, FUNCINPEC has yet to demonstrate that its agreement to join the coalition as a junior partner is something other than a collapse. It will have plenty of chances to prove itself, and SRP will be very happy to work with it when it does. During the elections, some observers, including the chief of the European Union observers as well as commentators in your paper if I remember correctly, made the absurd comment that SRP and FUNCINPEC should not complain about the formula because we could have won if our parties had united. It should be clear now just how different our two parties are, if somehow it was not clear before.

7) You have mentioned many times in the past that you have evidence of PM Hun Sen being involved in the grenade attack. Are you ready to publicise or reval this facts.

The US Congress has asked the FBI to release the finding of its investigation into the attack. The Washington Post has reported that the investigation points to Hun Sen's forces being responsible. I have already released some of the evidence that points to them, and the FBI has more. We do our best, but we are not in charge of law enforcement in Cambodia. You should ask Hun Sen why his investigative forces have made no progress.

8) What is your vision and wish for Cambodia as it is poised to enter the 21st century.

Ensure the rule of law so as to defend the common good, eliminate corruption and respect human rights. Make sure that democracy and development go hand in hand. Reform the government to make it more transparent, more accountable, more competent and more dedicated to serve the people. Put an end to impunity. Break the vicious circle of violence, corruption, environmental destruction, poverty, human rights violations. Implement fundamental and urgent reforms: land reform, administrative reform, fiscal reform, civil service reform, judicial reform, etc. Reduce the armed forces and end the warlord system. Reverse the priorities set by the current government. instead of focusing on defense and security, place emphasis on food security, poverty alleviation, education and health. Cooperate with friendly governments and relevant international organizations to combat organized crime. Promote real and sustainable economic development rather than overexploitation of natural resources, cheap labor and lawless business activities, as is now the case. Strengthen the economy through reforestation, rehabilitation of irrigation and water-control systems, agricultural development (diversification and increase in productivity), promotion of agro-industries and other light industries, development of cultural and ecological tourism. Set up an appropriate legal framework to open up the economy to internal and external competition. Develop good relationship and cooperation with all neighboring countries by resolving past sources of tension.

9) What is the status of the NUF at present.

It seems that SRP alone stands for what the NUF used to stand for. However we will always welcome the chance to work with everyone who shares our goals of political reform, democracy and respect for human rights.

10) What happened to the coalition proposal which arised from the many parties which supported the NUF during the demonstrations prior to the government formation.

Many of the points in the joint proposal by FUNCINPEC and SRP for a democratic coalition government have been included in the Hun Sen government's program. But many other points have been dropped: change in the composition of the National Election Committee and in the composition of the Constitutional Council, creation of a General Accounting Office for financial oversight (like in the US), recovery of state assets illegally sold in the past, etc.


January 8, 1999


Party president and opposition leader Sam Rainsy commented on several recent press reports that have implied that all of Cambodia's main political figures have been connected to the Khmer Rouge at some point.

"Nobody can seriously accuse me of having any link to the Khmer Rouge," he said, just before returning to leaving Paris for Australia. "Such a generalization makes everyone seem equally guilty, but this is far from the truth.

"While the Khmer Rouge were in power, I founded and for four years published a monthly bulletin called 'Sereika: The Voice of Free Cambodia' in Paris to denounce the genocide. 'Sereika' means 'Liberation'. I translated countless testimonies from refugees and appealed to the world to save the Cambodian people. I called Pol Pot and his colleagues criminals. Those issues of Sereika are still available at the French National Library and the Library of the US Congress. Not everyone who now condemns the Khmer Rouge did so during that time. Some were even Khmer Rouge members themselves!

"I had moved to France as a young boy in 1965, and I came back to live in Cambodia only in 1992. So I never held any position in the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea (1982-1991) which included the Khmer Rouge. I never held any official or unofficial position in the tripartite resistance movement and I never had to make deals with the Khmer Rouge.

"After the 1993 UNTAC elections, I was elected to the National Assembly and appointed Finance Minister. What I have done since then is known to everybody in Cambodia and involves no dealings with the Khmer Rouge... In a persistent effort to get rid of me, Hun Sen has made many untrue accusations against me. In November 1996 he even organized a press conference held at his house, where he presented fake Khmer Rouge defectors who accused me of receiving $2 million from Khieu Samphan. I don't think anybody actually believed it--I proved that on the day they said I received the money in Phnom Penh I was actually in Paris, which made Hun Sen look ridiculous.

"Many of Cambodia's prominent politicians, some in Phnom Penh and others in Pailin who form Cambodia's present "establishment" have all contributed to destruction and misery in this country from 1975 to 1999. I am proud to have clean hands."

"I believe that sometimes people can be reformed. There are some people, many people, who have done bad things in the past who might still be able to make a contribution. But before you can even think about forgiveness, you have to know the truth."



January 12, 1999

Opposition asks Samrin to account for previous questions

Opposition Members of the National Assembly submitted today their fourth question to the Royal Cambodian Government, under Article 96 of the Constitution. The Government has violated Article 96 three times in three weeks so far. This week's question:

Who is responsible for the decision by the Ministry of Justice not to issue warrants for the arrests of Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea under the Law Outlawing the Khmer Rouge and/or sections of the penal code including the crimes of murder and conspiracy?

Does the Royal Cambodian Government consider Pailin to be part of the sovereign territory of Cambodia?

Has the Prime Minister make any kind of a commitment to Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia? If so, what are the terms of that commitment?

Does the Royal Cambodian Government foresee any obstacles whatsoever to arresting Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea if an arrest warrant is issued? If so, what are those obstacles?

Under Article 96, the President of the National Assembly is obligated to forward these questions to the Government, which must answer in writing or in person within seven days. Accordingly, today we sent a formal letter to the Acting President, Heng Samrin, respectfully asking him to detail how he has met his obligation under the Constitution. as follows:

1. On what dates did you send the previous questions to the Government, as is required by Article 96 of the Constitution?

2. To whom in the Government did you forward them? Who took responsibility for it?

3. For our records, please show us the Government's acknowledgment of receipt.

(The letter is signed by SRP MP Cheam Channy, elected from Battambang.)

We continue to look forward to the Government's compliance with Article 96, which is designed to ensure a meaningful role for the Opposition and for the parliament in general. If the Government fails to comply with this basic mechanism of accountability, then it will be acting independently of the Assembly and the popular will.


For further information, please contact Yim Sovann on 855-23-211-336 or Rich Garella on 855-12-802-062.


January 20, 1999


The Sam Rainsy Party supports the clear position of King Norodom Sihanouk, expressed on December 26, 1998 and January 19, 1999, that all but six Senators should be elected from the ranks of various sectors ("corps de metiers") of society including the NGOs and human rights organizations, farmers, military, artisans, teachers, religious groups, overseas Cambodians, and others.

This system of universal indirect suffrage is in contrast to the draft Senate amendment proposed by the Government and passed by the Assembly's Legislative Commission. It would require a Law on Associations to define these groups and to specify their rights under the freedom of association guaranteed by the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

The SRP expresses its gratitude for the King's wise statement that the Senate should take a leading role in defending human rights, the state of law, and the environment; in protecting the rights of poor people and workers; and in supporting social justice, the independence of the judiciary and real democracy in Cambodia.

For further information please call In Thaddee on 023-215-375 or Rich Garella on 012-802-062.


January 21, 1999


SRP Assembly Members cite Constitution's Article 89

The Sam Rainsy Party's 15 National Assembly members submitted a request to the President of the National Assembly today to organize a public debate on "the critical economic situation faced by the country".

Article 89 of the Cambodian Constitution states that 1/10 of the MPs can request any senior Government official to come to the National Assembly to inform the people's representatives on any problem of special importance. The request specifies the Prime Minister or the Minister of Economy and Finance to fulfill this role. The MPs expect that one of these officials will soon appear before the Assembly to account for the Government's policies, and rely on the government to abide by the rule of law, transparency and accountability.

The Opposition's request for a public debate at the National Assembly emphasizes in particular:

- food shortages faced by millions of poor in rural areas - extremely low salaries of civil servants and military - more than 100% inflation over the last five years - collection of tax and other state income - management of forests, rubber plantations and other natural resources - reduction of the armed forces and security expenditures - measures to restore the national economy and to improve the standard of living.

These issues are expected to be addressed during the Consultative Group meeting to be held in Tokyo on February 25 and 26. Before discussing them with foreign governments, the Cambodian government should first inform its own people through the National Assembly, according to democratic rules. The discussion of these issues in the Assembly before the Tokyo meeting should be helpful to the donor countries and contribute to the success of the Consultative Group meeting.


Copies of the actual request in Khmer are available by calling 855-23-215-375. For further information, please call Rich Garella on 855-12-802-062 or In Thaddee on 855-23-215-375.

January 25, 1999

Sam Rainsy Party - Cambodia


The approach to the Sihanoukville toxic waste dumping has so far been inconsistent. Testing has been insufficient, the site has not been closed off, contaminated materials have been distributed widely and not collected. Health reports have been incomplete and unconvincing. Officials of Formosa Plastic have reportedly visited Cambodia, but did not meet with any of the NGOs or international agencies working on the case, which raises the possibility that a deal may struck in secret between that company and the Government.

This disaster highlights shortcomings in government response, public health, emergency response, and legal frameworks. The Sam Rainsy Party recommends that a concerted effort be made to address the four principal tasks below.


The Government, in cooperation with appropriate international agencies and NGOs, must ensure that the Formosa Plastics dump site in Sihanoukville is completely sealed off from the public and placed under 24-hour-a-day guard.

A recognized international firm experienced in hazardous waste clean-up should be hired to coordinate the following:

* The waste itself, the underlying soil and the surrounding watershed must be thoroughly tested according to standard sampling and testing technologies for a full range of toxins, including organic and inorganic mercury, dioxin and other likely wastes.

* Area residents who may have been exposed must be identified and tested for exposure, and full interviews conducted. They should be retested periodically according to the recommendations of recognized experts in the field.

* Materials that have been removed from the site must be tracked down and returned.

* The underlying soil must be decontaminated to safe levels for future use.

Formosa Plastics shall remove all of waste from Cambodian territory, pursuant to national and international law, within 90 days of the dumping date (this standard is set by the Basel Convention).

This project shall not be complete until a report of its completion is accepted and approved by the Task Force.


Formosa Plastics must bear all monetary costs of the dumping. Cambodia and its people did not produce the waste. They should bear none of the costs of the dumping.

An account must be created to tally all costs associated with the above project to be assessed against Formosa Plastics, including but not limited to the future costs of treatment of affected residents, cost of testing and analysis, reasonable salaries for professional staff or consultants, loss of value of land in the dumping area, etc.

No arrangements or agreements made in secret between the Government or its representatives and Formosa Plastics shall be binding unless it is made in public with the full knowledge and consent of the National Assembly. Barring such an agreement, Formosa Plastics will be held responsible for any and all costs associated with the dumping incident. All such costs will be tracked by the Government and made public through periodic reports. These costs will be recovered using any available means under national and international laws and treaties. No time limits shall be imposed on legal attempts to recover these costs.

The Ministry of Justice must support individual efforts to recover damages from Formosa Plastic where they do not conflict with the national effort to recover damages.


The Ministry of Justice must conduct a thorough investigation of the incident, identify Cambodian officials involved and make a thorough public report of the progress of that investigation in 90 days, and then each month until its conclusory report is accepted and approved and published by the Task Force. Those found responsible must be prosecuted under relevant penal law.

Improper payments made in Cambodia must be recovered put toward the cleanup. Such recovered funds which were improperly paid by Formosa Plastics or its agents will be deducted from the assessment against Formosa Plastics.


Future imports, transshipment and exports of hazardous waste must be prohibited by a comprehensive Cambodian law which 1) accedes to the Basel Convention and ban, 2) defines hazardous waste and prohibits its import, transshipment and export, 3) establishes responsibility for enforcement and 4) sets out criminal penalties for violations. This law may be modeled on legislation and conventions adopted in other developing areas and countries such as Africa, Thailand and Vietnam, and shall be passed as soon as possible.



January 25, 1999


The fifteen National Assembly members belonging to the opposition Sam Rainsy Party today requested the President of the National Assembly to postpone the Assembly's consideration of a constitutional amendment to create a senate, now slated for January 27.

The Opposition has stated its support for the proposal made by the King for an elected senate. The draft amendment, written behind closed doors, would create a senate in which most members are appointed by political parties.

"The National Assembly should confront real problems of Cambodia, instead of spending time and money creating an unrepresentative body," said SRP president Sam Rainsy.

Article 54 of the National Assembly's Internal Regulations says: "If the President of the National Assembly thinks that it is useful or necessary, or if there are at least 10 Members who request it, then the President of the National Assembly can postpone any session."


Sam Rainsy Party


January 29, 1999


Cambodia's parliamentary Opposition submitted its sixth "question of the week" to the Government yesterday. The submission is addressed to Heng Samrin, the acting president of the National Assembly, as specified by Article 96 of the Constitution.

The 15 signatories, members from the Sam Rainsy Party, point out that answers to their questions are clearly required by the Constitution and are necessary to ensure that the Consultative Group meeting in Tokyo next month makes its decisions on the basis of credible information shared with Cambodia's National Assembly.

The full text of the letter is available in Khmer by request from the Cabinet of the President of the Sam Rainsy Party, on 855-23-215-375 or * How many actual soldiers are there in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces? What is the breakdown by province and by type of forces?

* Why have these numbers increased despite Cambodia's budget constraints, promises made to international donors, and actual requirements for defense? In 1994 there were officially less than 120,000 troops, of which 30-40,000 were "ghost soldiers". How many of today's 148,000 claimed troops are "ghost soldiers"?

* Why did the Government claim before 1996 that there were only 5-6,000 Khmer Rouge soldiers, when it is now "integrating" tens of thousands of supposed Khmer Rouge soldiers? Are these merely agents of the parties in power who are taking advantage of the reintegration to get paid by the national budget? Does this figure include the thousands of troops in Prime Minister Hun Sen's private armed forces? Can the Government explain the sale of army positions for $200 to unemployed people, on the promise that these newly installed "soldiers" will soon receive $1,200 each under the internationally financed plan to reduce the armed forces?

* What is the precise timetable for the supposed reduction of armed forces, and how will it be verified that international funds do not end up in the pockets of corrupt military officers?

Under Article 96 of the Constitution, the President of the National Assembly must forward these questions to the Government, which must answer in writing or in person within seven days.

On January 13 Heng Samrin wrote to the Opposition members responding to their concern that their questions are being ignored by the Government. Acting President Heng Samrin confirmed that at least in the case of the question on food shortage, submitted January 4, "the National Assembly has already passed the question to the Royal Government for clarification." The responsibility now lies with the Royal Government headed by Prime Minister Hun Sen to fulfill its Constitutional duty.

Failure to inform the National Assembly on essential matters of state and on its own policy is an abrogation of the separation of powers. Furthermore it enables the Government to present any information to the Consultative Group regardless of its foundation in reality within Cambodia.


February 2, 1999


It will be difficult for the Cambodia Consultative Group to decide on international aid during the coming Tokyo meeting scheduled on February 25 and 26, if the Cambodian Government does not answer the questions raised by National Assembly members and refuses the national debate on economic policy that we have proposed.

A public debate at the National Assembly would be the first real evidence of the improvements in transparency and accountability that are necessary to ensure that international aid effectively contributes to stability and development with benefits spreading to the nation as whole.

Instead of making tangible progress toward these goals, Prime Minister Hun Sen's Government has mounted an elaborate public relations campaign to convince the donor nations that it is reforming its finances, cracking down on illegal logging, reducing the bloated military, and reining in corruption among senior officials. But so far, the Government's efforts have been largely cosmetic and easily reversible.

The Cambodian opposition strongly supports an international role in the rebuilding of Cambodia. Our country is still in desperate need of foreign assistance. But that assistance should be predicated on real improvements in Cambodia's governance, and specifically the accountability of the Government to the National Assembly and the people.

The new Government, like the old, has already shown that it insists on operating without accountability to the National Assembly that approved it. Contrary to the clear mandate of the Constitution, the Government has refused to answer any of the seven weekly questions put to it as of today by Assembly members. While Government emissaries engage themselves in the effort to convince the international community to add to the billions already given to Cambodia in the last decade, the Government pointedly denies to the Assembly information about government policy on key national issues such as deforestation, military cutbacks, pay for civil servants, secret contracts, arbitrary tax exemptions, budget priority (military versus education, health, and rural development) and its overall economic plan.

It continues to operate largely in secret, contrary to all established principles of good governance. There are still no effective checks on its power, no transparency, and no functional process for accountability. Government contracts are still made in secret, contrary to the Constitution. Information on budgets and expenditures is still denied to the National Assembly and the people.

In past years the unfortunate result has been that much of the aid given by the international community has reinforced the damaging policies of inefficient and corrupt governments that have been stripping Cambodia of its resources. Meanwhile the lives of most Cambodians have not improved. Decent education, basic health care, clean water, and fair working conditions remain distant dreams for the vast majority. The economy remains undeveloped and concentrated in unproductive, unsustainable areas.

It would be tragic for Cambodia and its people if international aid were denied or limited because the Government refused to open its books and engage with the National Assembly in a public process of decision-making on economic issues. That is why we request the donor nations and institutions to take a hard look at the reality behind the Government's claims through a public debate between Government and Parliament, and to assess properly Cambodia's needs and policies when the reforms are instituted that make the Government responsible for these claims.


February 1, 1999


After the declaration of the meeting of the Council of Ministers on January 29, 1999 "to cut the salaries and benefits of Government members and undersecretaries of state by seventy percent from February 1999" including "a proposal to the National Assembly to cut the salary and benefits of the National Assembly members by seventy percent as well" in response to the request of the teachers who want salary raises, the Sam Rainsy Party declares its position as follows:

1. The decision of the Government to cut the salaries and benefits of the Government members and undersecretaries of state and those above them and also the request to cut the salaries and benefits of National Assembly members do not properly address the request of the teachers for a raise in salary. This response surely cannot be acceptable by the teachers because the teachers need enough salary and benefits for them to have a decent subsistence and decent life. The teachers need enough assistance to live and to accomplish their full duties in order to assure the future of Cambodia and its children.

2. The Government should not do like the Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge regime, who degraded the life of the Cambodian people of all classes and occupations, making them all equally poor and starving except for the small ruling group, who take the wealth of the people, and become distant from the people. On the contrary, the Government must help the poor people become prosperous and the prosperous become wealthy.

3. The Sam Rainsy Party believes that even if you cut the Cabinet members' salary one hundred percent immediately, not even leaving one riel, they are not going to resign, because the high officials still will earn plenty of money through corruption. The money from this corruption is more than the salary of the Cabinet members by a hundred or a thousand times, and still the Cabinet member could make a very nice living.

4. The 15 members of the National Assembly from the Sam Rainsy Party are never involved in any form of corruption; we volunteer to receive our salary and benefits from the government only in the same amount as the teachers' salary. Assembly members of the Sam Rainsy Party are willing to give up our whole salary and benefits if the Government immediately starts to pay teachers $100 each per month as a first step to raise the standard of living of these teachers, who have an important role to educate the youth of Cambodia and to preserve the national culture.

5. The Sam Rainsy Party has a vision for raising all civil servants' salaries, especially the teachers, through a strategy that the Government should apply immediately, not making symbolic cuts in the salaries of the top officials, but opposing corruption, properly collecting taxes and other income, cutting useless expenses, and also revising the priorities in government policy. Should we spend on the military and security (now forty percent of the national budget) more than on education (now eight percent of the national budget), or should we spend more on education than on defense and security? Everybody knows that spending on security now is for suppressing democracy, for intimidating people and making them afraid of dictatorial power, while spending on education is necessary to educate the Cambodian youth, develop human resources, support Cambodians' livelihoods in the future and further the development of Cambodia.


Sam Rainsy


February 2, 1999



1. According to evaluations by various international organizations, the state resources obtained from forestry should amount to US$200,000,000 in 1998. So why do the official figures mention only $6,000,000 of state resources derived from forestry in 1998?

2. According to international organizations and foreign experts, the state resources derived from rubber plantations should amount to $30-40,000,000 in 1998. So for why do the official figures mention absolutely no state resources derived from rubber plantations in 1998 ?

3. How many millions of dollars did the government lose in income through illegal tax exemptions granted by corrupt high-ranking officials to unscrupulous traders who gave bribes to them?

4. Why has Royal Air Cambodge lost $25,000,000 since its founding in 1994? Was the company affected by improprieties in accounting such as biased price transfers? Local associates of foreign traders have given bribes to Cambodian leaders to be allowed to damage national interests. Is the Royal Government prepared to set up without delay an independent body similar to the US General Accounting Office to review all agreements signed by the government and to audit the management and the accounting of both private companies and governmental bodies?

5. Why has the Government not revealed to the public the secret contract set up by a group of corrupt leaders to rent land belonging to the Cambodian Embassy in Japan about 2-3 years ago? This large piece of land in a very good area of Tokyo is worth about $600 million and has been rented for a 40-year term to a private company to build a luxury building. This building, put up for rent by the company at very high monthly rates, can collect up to $100 million a year. Where is the income? Why can we not see this income in the national budget? Where is this income going--in whose pocket?

We request the acting President of the National Assembly to please submit these five queries to the Government as quickly as possible. The Constitution requires the Government to respond to the questions put by the National Assembly members within seven days. This is the seventh question that we have put to the Government in the past six weeks, but the Government has never responded.

Please accept our assurance of the highest consideration,

[signed by the fifteen SRP members of the National Assembly of Cambodia] Phnom Penh, February 2, 1999



Most revered Preah Karuna,

On behalf of my colleague deputies, and my colleagues, and for myself, please allow me to express my deepest gratitude for the long audience Your Majesty and Her Majesty the Queen were so kind to grant us yesterday morning. We were very honored and pleased to receive the enlightened advice of Your august Majesty on many topics covering almost all the problems faced by our unfortunate country.

Your Majesty has clearly expressed His ardent desire to see the Constitution of the Kingdom implemented and respected in letter and in spirit, especially regarding the rights and the role of the National Assembly. Your Majesty has recognized that the following provision of the Constitution should be taken into consideration in particular:

* Article 89:

Upon the request by at least 1/10 of its members the Assembly shall invite a high-ranking official to clarify important special issues.

* Article 96:

The deputies have the right to put a motion against the Royal Government. The motion shall be submitted in writing through the President of the Assembly. The replies shall be given by one or several ministers depending on the matters related to the accountability of one or several ministers. If the case concerns the overall policy of the Royal Government, the Prime Minister shall reply in person. The explanation by the ministers or the Prime Ministers shall be given verbally or in writing. The explanations shall be provided within seven days after the day when the question is received....The assembly shall establish one day each week for questions and answers....

Your Majesty has underlined that putting a motion against ministers requiring explanation from the Government and having debate between the Royal Government and members of Parliament are absolutely not unusual practices, but on the contrary are merely normal and widely practiced in all democracies in the world, not only in countries like France and the United States, but even in closer countries like Thailand. Your Majesty has assessed the dialogue to be established between the members of Parliament and the Government as useful and constructive.

While, as for today, the seven weekly questions raised by the Sam Rainsy Party deputies to the Royal Government have not received any answer, the same as in the case of our demand for a debate on economic issues, the high advice expressed by Your Majesty is an inestimable support to the proper functioning of state institutions and of democratic mechanisms.

In the current context of the preparations for the Consultative Group meeting of the donor countries, scheduled for February 25-26 in Tokyo, a parliamentary debate on economic issues can provide necessary clarification for the success of this meeting and for a better use of the international aid for the greatest benefit of the Cambodian people. Considering the persistent refusal of the Government to have a debate on economic issues at the National Assembly, and considering the previous promises, unfulfilled year after year, the donor countries may not believe the Government's promises about good governance, reforms, and transparency. On the contrary, they may believe that the Government has many things to hide and always tries to play for time.

We strongly hope that the current leader of our country will give the required attention to the high advice of Your Majesty and that they will accept without delay to join the dialogue with the representatives of the people. The initiation of such a dialogue is necessary to combat the culture of confrontation and violence in our country and to ensure durable peace and stability.

Please accept, most revered Preah Karuna and Her Majesty the Queen, the assurance of my everlasting devotion and my wishes for your good health and long life, so that you can provide your children and grandchildren with your benificence and protection for as long a possible


Sam Rainsy

Letter sent by His Majesty the King of Cambodia to the Prime Minister of Cambodia on February 4, 1999


Samdech Hun Sen

Prime Minister of the Royal Government of Cambodia

Dear and Respected Samdech,

I have received a letter dated February 2nd from His Excellency Sam Rainsy, who would like to receive answers to the questions his party has raised.

I would like to transmit you this letter of His Excellency Sam Rainsy for your kind consideration. [see below]

I am of the opinion that the demand of this party is in line with the truly democratic spirit and letter of the Constitution of our nation. Many people in our nation would like to have direct debates between the Government and the National Assembly.

Please, Samdech Prime Minister, accept my the assurance of my highest consideration and my highest feelings.


Norodom Sihanouk

Phnom Penh, February 4, 1999


A la haute attention de

Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh

President de l'Assemblee Nationale

Phnom Penh, Cambodge

Los Angeles, le 5 fevrier 1999


Alors que l'Assemblee Nationale devrait commencer à examiner à partir de la semaine prochaine, sous votre presidence, une importante proposition de loi ayant pour objet une refonte de la Constitution destinee à faire passer le système politique cambodgien du mono-cameralisme au bi-cameralisme avec la creation d'un Senat comportant de nombreuses et lourdes consequences, je me permets d'attirer votre attention sur les points suivants qui ne peuvent pas ne pas paraître fondamentaux au juriste, president d'un parti qui se dit royaliste, et digne et respectueux fils de Sa Majeste le Roi du Cambodge que vous êtes :

1- Certaines dispositions de la proposition de loi preparee conjointement par des parlementaires du Parti du Peuple Cambodgien (PPC) et du FUNCINPEC sont ahurissantes : dans quel pays, à quel moment, dans quel système a-t-on jamais vu un president du Senat dejà nomme avant même que ne soient connus les autres membres de cette institution censee representer le peuple qui n'a jamais ete consulte sur le sujet ?

2- Dans quel pays, à quel moment, dans quel système a-t-on jamais vu un president complaisamment pre-designe du Senat s'associer avec le president de l'Assemblee Nationale qui est la Chambre Basse du Parlement, pour designer tout aussi complaisamment les membres du Senat qui est la Chambre Haute du même Parlement ? Vous me direz que cet echafaudage fait partie de l'accord politique conclu entre le PPC et le FUNCINPEC le 13 novembre dernier. Mais l'accord de deux partis, même majoritaires, ne constitue pas une raison valable pour changer à leur guise les règles du jeu constitutionnelles. Ce serait ignorer les fondements de l'Etat de droit et ouvrir la voie à des violations continuelles des principes democratiques. Le ou les partis au pouvoir à un moment donne pourraient alors amender la Constitution comme bon leur semblerait. En 1969, le General de Gaulle a organise un referendum pour demander l'approbation du peuple français (qui la lui a refusee) pour seulement modifier l'organisation du Senat qui existait depuis bien longtemps dejà en France. Pourquoi ne pas demander l'avis du peuple cambodgien sur un projet d'amendement constitutionnel bien plus important ?

3- Vous n'êtes pas sans savoir que Sa Majeste le Roi a, tout recemment et à plusieurs reprises (voir le BMD et les lettres qu'Elle a daigne m'adresser), clairement exprime Son très haut avis sur un eventuel futur Senat qui risque d'être inutile et coûteux s'il est mal conçu alors que les priorites et les urgences nationales sont ailleurs. En tout etat de cause, Sa Majeste souhaite qu'à l'exception de six Senateurs nommes par Elle-même, l'Assemblee Nationale et le Gouvernement (à raison de deux chacun), tous les autres Senateurs soient elus par les differents " corps de metier ", groupements nationaux, ONG defendant les droits de l'homme, et communautes cambodgiennes d'outre-mer. Le Parti Sam Rainsy a immediatement apporte son soutien total à la proposition royale qu'il juge hautement clairvoyante, juste et democratique. La proposition royale doit être acceptee et appliquee immediatement par tous ceux qui se declarent royalistes, en particulier ceux qui doivent leur election et leur position actuelle à l'usage qu'ils ont fait de l'auguste nom de Sa Majeste le Roi. Tout faux-fuyant ou toute manœuvre dilatoire visant à ne respecter et à n'appliquer la proposition royale qu'à partir du deuxième mandat du Senat serait indigne d'un parti politique qui se declare royaliste et qui doit son existence à Sa Majeste le Roi.

Veuillez agreer, Samdech, l'expression de mes sentiments respectueux.


Sam Rainsy


To the highest attention

of Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh

President of the National Assembly

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Los Angeles, February 5th, 1999


As the National Assembly will start next week under your chairmanship to consider an important draft law amending the Constitution in order to move the Cambodian political system from the unicameral to the bicameral system with the creation of a senate, which will have numerous and heavy consequences, I would like to draw your attention on the following points which will not be considered unimportant by the lawyer, leader of a party that claims to be royalist, and respectful son of His Majesty the King that you are :

1. Some of the provisions contained in the draft law jointly prepared by Cambodian People's Party (CCP) and the FUNCINPEC are incredible: In what country, when and in which system has anyone seen the Chairman of the Senate being appointed before we know about the other members of this institution, supposedly representing the people, who have never been consulted?

2. In what country, when and in which system has anyone seen a casually appointed Senate Chairman join the Chairman of the National Assembly, which is the lower chamber of the Parliament, to just as casually appoint the other members of the Senate, which is the upper chamber of the parliament? You might tell me that this arrangement is part of the deal made by CPP and FUNCINPEC on November 13. But the agreement between two parties, even if they represent the majority, is not a valid reason to change the constitutional rules at will. Doing so would ignore the basis of the rule of law, and open the way to continuous violations of democratic principles. The ruling parties at any time would be able to amend the constitution at will. In 1969, General de Gaulle organize a referendum to ask for the approval of the French people (who refused to give it) to modify the organization of the Senate which has existed for a long time. So why don't we ask the Cambodian people about a much more important constitutional amendment ?

3. You may not ignore that His Majesty the King, recently and several times, (see the BMD and the letters he dared to send me) has clearly expressed His very high advice about a Senate which will be useless and costly if it is not well conceived, as the national priorities are different. Excepting the six senators appointed by Him, the National Assembly and the Government (two by each), His Majesty would like to have all the other senators elected by all various sectors (corps de metier) , national groups, Human Rights NGOs, and overseas Cambodians. The Sam Rainsy Party has immediately expressed its full support to the wise Royal proposal which should be accepted and implemented immediately by all those who claim to be royalists, especially those who get their elections and positions from the use they made of the name of the King. Any attempt or maneuver made so as to not respect and not implement the Royal proposal before the second mandate of the Senate would be unworthy in a royalist party which exists thanks to His Majesty the King.

Please accept, Samdech, the expression of my respectful feelings.


Sam Rainsy


February 9, 1999

CAMBODIAN OPPOSITION LEADER: DELAY AID MEETING His country is now a "sinkhole for foreign aid," he argues

Cambodia's parliamentary opposition leader, Sam Rainsy, urged Cambodia's donors to delay their meeting in Tokyo until the Cambodian government meets constitutional requirements to account for its policies to the National Assembly. The Cambodian government has requested a $1.3 billion aid package. Rainsy's statements, made on Tuesday in Washington, DC:

"Cambodia is a sinkhole for foreign aid. Yes, Cambodia needs assistance. However, this assistance must benefit the people of Cambodia, promote long-term stability, and develop the economy in sustainable ways.

"A debate on economic issues--the same issues which will be raised in Tokyo--among Cambodians, in Cambodia, between the government and the parliament, according to democratic procedures, will help the participants in the Tokyo meeting make better-informed decisions. They will get a clearer picture of Cambodia's economic and financial situation and will be better prepared to make the right decisions on aid to Cambodia.

"Such a debate has been encouraged by the King and will promote transparency, accountability and good governance. By making the Cambodian government more credible after the debate, it will enhance the chance of success of the Tokyo meeting.

"The Consultative Group meeting should not be an exclusive dialogue between the international donors and the same ruling group which has made empty promises time and time again and has been, directly or indirectly, the chief beneficiary of past aid. The National Assembly and the people of Cambodia should have a voice on the future of their nation.

"I am prepared to return to Phnom Penh any day to take part in the debate on economic issues. Otherwise, I must go to Tokyo to expose the violations of democratic principles and rules, the lack of transparency, and the irregularities in the economic management that are now the rule in Cambodia.

"The foreign donors must insist on fiscal responsibility and accountability. Otherwise they will be throwing their money away."

Articles 89 and 96 of Cambodia's Constitution clearly require the government to answer a series of questions on economic and political policy that the opposition members of the National Assembly have posed through official channels and to engage in an open debate in the Assembly. King Norodom Sihanouk has expressed his support for the government to meet its constitutional obligations. However, the Cambodian government continues to flout the Constitution openly, while claiming to the international community that it is turning over a new leaf.


Sam Rainsy is the president of Cambodia's only parliamentary opposition party, the Sam Rainsy Part, which holds 15 seats in Cambodia's National Assembly. Rainsy is a member of parliament and a former Minister of Finance. For more information, please contact Rich Garella on 855-12-802-062.

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