A man pays his respects to the deceased at a ceremony yesterday to remember the victims of a 1997 grenade attack on members of the Sam Rainsy Party in Phnom Penh. The attack left 16 opposition activists dead and over 100 wounded. The perpetrators have yet to be brought to justice.
Thursday, 31 March 2011
By Kim Yuthana
Phnom Penh Post
During a commemorative ceremony yesterday the opposition Sam Rainsy Party urged the Government to seek justice for victims of a brutal grenade attack in 1997.
The attack left at least 16 people dead and more than 100 injured.
More than 50 monks said prayers for the dead, while SRP members said that justice would not be served unless the Government identified and arrested the perpetrators.
About 200 SRP members had gathered outside the old National Assembly building on March 30, 1997, to protest the impunity of Cambodia’s judiciary.
Four grenades were lobbed into the crowd in a well-orchestrated attack that the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation concluded later to have involved Government officials.
“I would like to call on the Government to open an investigation into this criminal case and find out who the real killers were and bring them to justice,” said Chan Virak, who lost his sister in the 1997 attack. He added that families of the dead have been waiting for 14 years to see justice.
During yesterday’s event, which was attended by an estimated 200 party representatives and members of victims’ families, SRP President Kong Kam said the “grenade attack had been planned”.
Sam Rainsy addressed participants of yesterday’s ceremony via video conference and said family members of the victims still suffer because they have not received justice.
“We still remember what happened unfairly to demonstrators at that time,” he said.
“We continue our commitment to push the Government and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation to investigate and arrest the killers.”
Teng Savong, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Interior and once the head of the investigative team in charge of the case, said yesterday that police officials had not yet closed the file but that they were no closer to identifying any suspects.
“We have not yet apprehended any of the killers,” Teng Savong said.