Foreign Diplomats Are Disappointed with the National Assembly for Withdrawing the Immunity of Two Parliamentarians and with Hun Sen’s Warning about Interference – Wednesday, 24.6.2009

Posted on 25 June 2009. Filed under: Week 618 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 618

“Diplomats who wanted to enter to listen to the meeting about the withdrawal of the immunity of two Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians are greatly disappointed, as the National Assembly did not allow them to enter, and that Prime Minister Hun Sen had warned the international community not to interfere with this case in a speech from Krang Yov [Kandal]. The deputy head in charge of the British Embassy, Ms. Elizabeth Evan, who was outside of the National Assembly as security guards prevented her from entering, said, ‘Diplomats from the US, Germany, from the UK, and from the French embassy appeared at the National Assembly and regrettably were not allowed to go in. We don’t know why they did this.’ Not only Ms. Elizabeth Evans who was barred, but also the German ambassador, Mr. Frank Marcus Mann, and the Chargé d’Affaires of the French Embassy, Mr. Roland Le Marchand expressed their disappointment at the National Assembly as they were prevented to enter. [Normally the sessions of the National Assembly are open to be observed by the public.]

“In the National Assembly, the microphones for the Sam Rainsy parliamentarians were all switched off in order to prevent them from expressing their opinion. This shows a well-prepared plan of the National Assembly, controlled by the Cambodian People’s Party, which attempted to silence not only the opposition party, but also to lock out foreign diplomats in Cambodia, so that they could not know the procedings to remove the immunity of two Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians at the same time. The case of the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian Ho Vann was not even included in the agenda to remove his immunity on Monday. Only Ms. Mu Sochua had to face the discussion to revoke her immunity during a [previous] meeting of the Permanent Committee of the National Assembly.

“Outside of the National Assembly, armed forces were deployed, concerning and attracting the diplomat’s attention. The concern is that the freedom of expression is completely suppressed, when even the international [diplomatic] community is not allowed to observe anything. This prompted the spokesperson of the US Embassy, Mr. John Johnson, to say that his embassy is ‘surprised and disappointed’ because of the decision not to hold the meeting publicly. He added, ‘It is a worrying problem if the Cambodian people are not allowed to witness and take responsibility for the activities of their elected parliamentarians in the National Assembly.’

“Many observers expressed similar opinions to that of the diplomats. Opposition party parliamentarians, wearing masks [as symbols of being silenced], said that it is unjust that the members of the Cambodian People’s Party in the National Assembly did not consider the national interest, but cared only about the interest of the party and of Prime Minister Hun Sen. Ms. Mu Sochua said, ‘Our country is facing danger, as the court system is influenced by higher powers.’

“The parliamentarian and spokesperson and the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Yim Sovann, condemned the withdrawal of the immunity of Ms. Mu Sochua and of Mr. Ho Vann, and consideres it as a threat to, and a restriction of the freedom of expression of the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians. He added that it is the strongest restriction ever imposed on the Sam Rainsy Party, compared with the many obstacles that it had already experienced, which have also been clearly observed by the international community.

“The international community could only stand outside and see the injustice that was oppressing the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians, as even these diplomats were not permitted to go into the National Assembly to observe the meeting. This strongly makes them interested in, but disappointed with the National Assembly, led by the honorary president of the Cambodian People’s Party Heng Samrin. However, [the Cambodian People’s Party parliamentarian and chairperson of the National Assembly’s Commission on Economy, Finance, Banking, and Audit] Cheam Yeap claimed that the withdrawal of the immunity of two persons, of Ms. Mu Sochua and of Mr. Ho Vann, was included in the agenda, and is in accordance with the law.

“The international community, observers, as well as the local civil society are not only disappointed, but also regret very much what has happened, because it violates the law and the rights of parliamentarians who were installed into their positions through elections, and everything is not in accordance with the law. On the contrary, these were only actions following the anger and the feeling of the powerful. Thus, the international community, with the presence of their diplomats outside the National Assembly on Monday, expressed their disappointment.

“Despite this disappointment, Prime Minister Hun Sen had already warned against any inference into the internal affairs of Cambodia. This warning was a preemptive action of Prime Minister Hun Sen, as he knows that the Cambodian government will be pressed by the international community regarding the withdrawal of immunity of two Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians at the same time.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3792, 24.6.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #218, 24.6.2009

  • UNESCO Dismisses Request of the Siamese [Thai] Prime Minister “to Jointly Register the Preah Vihear Temple”
  • Cambodia and Myanmar Find Land that Can Be Rented to Establish Embassies [in both countries]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1978, 24.6.2009

  • A Branch of the Sacom Bank [of Vietnam] Is Opened in Cambodia
  • Expert Officials Spray Pesticides on Trucks Importing Pigs from Thailand to Prevent Infectious Diseases

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #431, 24.6.2009

  • The Head of the UN Human Rights Office [Mr. Christophe Pescheux] Denies Trying to Take Duch Abroad [as accused by Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • An American Research Organization [Heritage Foundation] Says There Is 80% Corruption in the Cambodian Economy

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6684, 24.6.2009

  • A Site Illegally Producing Mreah Prov [large softwood tree] Oil at the Kravanh Mountian Range Is Found and 142 Containers of Mreah Prov Oil [ingredient to produce ecstasy], Equal to 5.7 Tonnes, Are Confiscated

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3792, 24.6.2009

  • Foreign Diplomats Are Disappointed with the National Assembly for Withdrawing the Immunity of Two Parliamentarians and with Hun Sen’s Warning about Interference

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4928, 24.6.2009

  • International Co-Prosecutor [Robert Petit] of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Will Resign [on 1 July 2009 for personal and family reasons]
  • Thailand Sends Troops and Artillery to the Border while Its Deputy Prime Minister Will Come to Cambodia on Saturday
  • Brunei Prepares to Buy 1,500 Tonnes of Rice from Cambodia
  • UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights [Mr. Surya Prasad Subedi] Says He Will Cooperate with Cambodia on Human Rights

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.

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