A Change of Guard

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Saturday, 16 July 2011

WikiLeaks: FM Hor Namhong protested US claim of his involvements with Khmer Rouge crimes

By Khmerization

Cambodia’s Foreign Minister Hor Namong (pictured) has strongly protested to US officials over a leaked diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks repeating allegations that he was a former Khmer Rouge prison chief who had collaborated in the killing of many prisoners, according to the statement released yesterday.

The Cambodian Foreign Ministry statement said Hor Namhong had summoned the US charge d’affaires in Phnom Penh, Jeff Daigle, on Thursday and strongly protested against the “highly defamatory” 2002 cable, which was released via WikiLeaks this week.

In the meeting, Mr. Hor Namhong asked Mr. Daigle “to convey to the US state department his strong protest” over the cable, “which is full of unacceptable maligned indictment”, said the statement.

The cable cites an “undated, unattributed report” on file at the US embassy, which said Hor Namhong took charge of Boeung Trabek camp in the capital after the brutal communist movement took power in 1975. “Hor Namhong came back to Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge took over, but was not killed because he was a schoolmate of Ieng Sary,” the report said. Ieng Sary was foreing minister of the Khmer Rouge regime from 1975 till he defected to the government in 1996. He is now standing trial for genocide in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

Hor Namhong “became head of the Beng Trabek (sic) camp and he and his wife collaborated in the killing of many prisoners. Among the victims were the Queen Mother's sister Nanette and her husband Metevi [Methavi] (a relative of Sirik Matak). Hor Namhong almost killed Chem Snguon and his family (including Widhya who was with his father in the camp because someone heard Widhya listening to a French radio broadcast,” it added.

Prince Sisowath Methavi is the father of Prince Sisowath Thomico, the advisor to the current King Sihamoni and Ex-King Sihanouk and the younger brother of Prince Sisowath Sirik Matak, the chief coup leader of the 1970 that toppled the then Prince Sihanouk from power and cousin of Ex-King Sihanouk and also married to Nanette Izzi, younger sister of Monique Izzi, the wife of Ex-King Sihanouk who took the title of Queen Mother. Chem Sguon was a fellow diplomat with Hor Namhong in the 1960s and Minister of Justice in the current government from the same ruling Cambodian People's Party as Mr. Hor Namhong from the 1980s till his death in the 2000s.

The cable said that Chem Snguon and his family was spared because of the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia. "The Vietnamese invaded just before the Chem family was to be killed. Hor Namhong's wife asked Ieng Sary to help their daughter to work with the Khmer Rouge regime. She pointed out that she helped Ieng Sary bring back a lot of people to be killed", added the cable.

Many people, including former victims of the Boeung Trabek Re-Education Camp, claimed that Hor Namhong, his wife and children were in charge of Boeung Trabek Re-Education Camp and that they were involved in sending people to their deaths at Tuol Sleng Prison and Choeung Ek Killing Fields. But, the minister himself has long said that he and his family were prisoners at a Khmer Rouge camp, and he has successfully sued people, like opposition leader Sam Rainsy in 2008 and ex-King Sihanouk in 1991, for claiming that he had links to the blood-soaked communist movement. However, in early 2011, the French highest court, French Supreme Court (Cour de Cassation) , had overturned that conviction and exonerated Mr. Rainsy of all charges.

The US embassy in Cambodia confirmed that Daigle met Hor Namhong on Thursday but said it was unable to comment on the content of any allegedly leaked US government documents.

Up to 2mn people died of overwork and starvation or were executed under the Khmer Rouge, which outlawed religion, property rights, currency and schools during its four-year rule.

A number of the current administration in Cambodia had links to the regime, and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself, Senate President Chea Sim, National Assembly Chairman Heng Samrin were senior Khmer Rouge cadres.

In April, a Cambodian court slapped opposition leader Sam Rainsy — who lives in exile in France — with a jail term and a fine for accusing Hor Namhong of being a former regime member.

He was found guilty in absentia of defamation and inciting discrimination for claiming in a 2008 speech that Hor Namhong once belonged to the movement.

The Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the leaks will not cloud the relationships between the two nations.


Anonymous said...

The evidences have piled up against Hor Namhong. Sure, with these amounts of proof, Hor Namong cannot deny his involvements anymore with killing the people during the Khmer Rouge regime. He was definitely the chief of Boeung Trabek camp and has certainly involved in sending people to their deaths. The Khmer Rouge Tribunal, currently in session in Cambodia, should investigate Hor Namhong's possible crimes and punish him accordingly if he is found guilty.

Anonymous said...

Well, he is innocent until the court proof him guilty. The court should do investigation an question him for all the fact and bring all of the witnesses forfront and if the court has strong evidence that keep him for then it should do that but if the court doesnt have strong evidence then it should let him go. Right now it looks pretty bad with the piling evidences. He has to clear his name in court otherwise people will assume he is guilty of the crime. We dont know the truth.

Anonymous said...

The other problem that I see in this story is another ways for Thailand to destroy him because he has done amazing job fighting against Thailand at ICJ on Preah Vihea. If you go to bangkok post, Thailand so happy to put his story in front page. Sometimes, I wonder why his story leaked during the time that ICJ is about to give its verdict. There are many purposes why the story leaked. Dont assumed it is for Khmer interests or justice for Khmer people. It seems like the article wanted to bring justice for Khmer but the main objective is not about Khmer. FM Hor Namhong represent Khmer in ICJ very well and Thailand stand no chance with his team. I would question the fact, Wikileak released etc. If Cambodia's government remove him from his post of the Wikileak story, it will be a big mistake and it will serve Thailand's purposes.

Anonymous said...

If he was committing all of those crimes that they accused him; it is sadden. He is innocent as far I am concern because there is no eye witnesses to proof his guilt or the court hasn't convicted him. As far as information from Sihanouk, he too is guilty as others because he was the main person to rally Khmer Rouge into the jungle to fight against American regime installed in Cambodia and KR did the killings. Wikileak wasnt there when KR did the killings. I think whoever released his file intended to destroy Khmer government image in the world eyes. However the man did a good job on Preah Vihea issue. Thailand doesnt shy to expose FM Hor Namhong the bad things to make Cambodia looks bad internationally. Thailand can paint the picture "look this government is a bunch of murders" "how can ICJ take their side" etc. While the world paying attention to Cambodia past and its leadership, then they forget that Thailand is the agressor and real killer to Cambodian citizens. Look, Cambodia has many killers walking or living among the victims, however if "Buddha can reform and forgive Ankuli Mea" "and Ankuli Mea can turn his bad deed into good deed" Cambodian as Buddhist country, we can find way to forgive and allow the person to do good deed so that he/she can be saved from all the sin committed. If he did all of those things, I forgive him. We should allow him to do good in return. Afterall who really care about Khmer? If Khmer cannot find way to forgive each other and allow the person that did bad to change and become good person, then we should stop practice Buddhism. I understand the law is the law and we should punished the person within the law allowed and help reform the person.

Anonymous said...

The ECCC will not be able to try Hor Nam Hong because the Cambodian government will never give it the jurisdiction and power to do so.

Hor and his whole family survived the KR regime in tact and he was then the chief of Boeung Trabaek prison and there are now many witnesses who have pointed fingers at him so anyone can judge for himself or herself his fate in the independent court if one were to be allowed to be set up.

In addition one can also ask what his job was as a chief of Boeung Trabaek prison.

The possible success at ICJ is not due to Mr. Hor's ability, but due to the very fact that Preah Vihear and its claimed surrounding area belong to Cambodia as a matter of fact and according to the decision of ICJ back in 1962.

Mr. Hor is not the only Khmer who can lead the delegation to the ICJ. He is there not because he is the best diplomat Cambodia has ever produced, but because he has connection to the CPP, especially Hun Sen!

Anet Khmer

Anonymous said...

Well, if we decide to forgive Hor Nam Hong based on Buddha's teaching, then, without drawing a line somewhere in this whole idea of forgiveness based on the teaching of religions, we should also forgive the Vietnamese or the Thais who want Cambodia's land and we should not kill them when they invade our country, but simply let them take it and we then live in our own land as a minority or second-class citizens since we are so true to our Buddha's principle of not killing any animals, especially humans.

Like everything else in life, a line has to be drawn somewhere whether we like it or not since sometimes in life there is no such thing as a clear-cut answer to problem.

Anet Khmer

Anonymous said...

The judges at the ICJ are capable of making a distinction between allegations or otherwise relating to Mr Hor's past involvement in the KR regime and the merit or otherwise relating to Cambodia's stance on the Preah Vihear issue.

If the timing of the release of these cables is intended to hurt Cambodia's case at the ICJ, then it may end up directly hurting Thailand's even more if one considers carefully the opinion or view of U.S Ambassador Joseph Mussomeli that Thailand's claim is morally and legally irrelevant. Cambodia has control over the claimed area for 46 years.

The headlines in the Thai press or the Cambodian one won't sway the judges, but the empirical facts and legal precedent (1962) of the case plus the body of evidence presented by either of the respective legal teams will.

Hor Nam Hong's past is probably no more questionable than any of his ruling CPP bosses. Perhaps, it's their murky pasts that keep them in the same boat and rowing in the same direction?

Anonymous said...

In fact, the eldest son of Chem Snguon, Kennedy Snguon was killed at Ban Trabaek and the Chem family have always blamed Hor Nam Hong for his death.

Kennedy had tried to get asylum at the British Embassy and US Liaison Office in Beijing in 1975-76 but was not given asylum and was forced to return to Cambodia were he was punished for having tried to escape from Angkar.

Cambodia's ICJ case has got nothing to do with Hor Nam Hong's behaviour during the Pol Pot years in Cambodia. He just happens to be the current Cambodian Foreign Minister doing his job. An investigation should be carried out to ascertain whether he is guilty of the allegations made against him. But I doubt that in today's Cambodia that would take place.

Anonymous said...

These are allegations. He has been working for Cambodia since begining. One of his is ambassador to United Kingdom. I doubt there is any truth to it.
Here is the link to his information

Anonymous said...

If the ICJ judged the case in Cambodia's favor, it is not because of Hor Namhong, but rather the judgement is based on legal proof. Preah Vihear is always Cambodian, the case has been judged and settled in 1962 already. The Thais were able to come and re-occupied the area because Hun Sen and his ministers like Hor Namhong and Tea banh did not deploy enough troops to protect the area in 2008 and it only took 20 Thai troops to walk in, like they walk into their barracks, to occupy the area. If Hun Sen deployed just 100-200 troops in the areas, the Thais would not be able to invade it with 20 soldiers. The Thai yellow shirts had been threatening for weeks that they will march to Preah Vihear temple, yet Hun sen did nothing to strengthen the defense of the temple, that's why it took only 20 Thai soldiers to walk in and occupied the area in 2008.

Anonymous said...

Why people so ungreatful of what this government done. You think the ICJ just rule in Cambodia's favor without those people puting strategies together? Yes, I agree the temple belongs to Cambodia but did Thailand recognize it? If they did, we probably never have this discussion. Any way, I know you love Khmer and I too love Khmer. Those leaders doesnt pay me or you but I just judge them because they earned merit for work hard and not allow Thailand to continue its lies. I think they did it systematically to win the case. I realized that opposition leader doesnt like to see this government win because it weaken their claim on corruption, buddy system, human right violation, etc. All of these issues are bread and butter for the opposition to remain needed in Cambodia. I get it.