A Change of Guard

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Thursday, 5 May 2016

Kem Sokha, two fellow CNRP lawmakers reject summons

Kem Sokha, acting leader of the CNRP, speaks about the current political situation in Cambodia yesterday at the CNRP headquarters in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

Kem Sokha, two fellow CNRP lawmakers reject summons
Thu, 5 May 2016 ppp
Lay Samean and Ananth Baliga

CNRP acting president Kem Sokha and two fellow lawmakers have declared that they will refuse to comply with a summons to appear in court in relation to the alleged Sokha sex scandal.

Following a meeting of CNRP representatives in the capital yesterday, Sokha and CNRP lawmakers Tok Vanchan and Pin Ratana released a statement saying they had protection under Article 80 of the constitution, which grants lawmakers immunity and entitles them to ignore the summons.

Sokha has been summonsed on May 11 in relation to a $1 million defamation case filed by social media celebrity Thy Sovantha for allegedly disparaging her in leaked audio recordings purportedly between the opposition leader and an alleged mistress, Khom Chandaraty.

Vanchan and Ratana were asked to appear before the court on May 16 for questioning related to “prostitution”.

CNRP senior whip Son Chhay called on the government to stop violating the constitution, which he said they had been doing for “quite some time”.

“It’s a matter of respect for our constitution, and we will not accept any illegal or inappropriate behaviour by the court,” Chhay said. “This is the decided position – to not go.”

An invitation for questioning was also in violation of the constitution, he added.

However, Sok Sam Oeun, a lawyer and former head of the Cambodia Defenders Project, said the Khmer translation of the word “summons” was closer to “invitation”, and that the court could invite lawmakers to appear before it. “But lawmakers have the right to decide whether they want to go or not,” he added.

If the court wished to issue a second summons, Sam Oeun said they would then need the National Assembly’s Standing Committee to lift a lawmaker’s immunity before asking him or her to appear before the court.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court deputy prosecutor Keo Socheat said it was the trio’s prerogative whether to appear, but in any case, the court could use other methods as well. “If he [Sokha] does not want to come, it is his matter,” Socheat said. “The court has other procedures, but I can’t talk about the procedures now.”

Meanwhile, Amnesty International on Tuesday released a statement saying it was clear that the CPP was looking to take down the political opposition once and for all and instill a “fear of reprisals” into civil society.

“The Cambodian authorities and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) must immediately end its ongoing and unlawful campaign to dismantle the political opposition and undermine the invaluable and legitimate work of the country’s human rights’ groups and political commentators,” it said.

During an appearance on television channel PNN, Anti-Corruption Unit boss Om Yentieng called a statement by Transparency International on the case slanderous, and said their actions could suggest they were part of the alleged “conspiracy” that has already seen several jailed.

He went on to call Human Rights Watch’s Asia director Brad Adams – who released a similar statement – “Mr Sat Breth”, a Khmer term that translates to “devilish, hungry ghost”, adding that Adams’ comments had no basis in law. 


Anonymous said...

A culture of dialogue doesn't work. We need pressure from international donors and the U.S. Otherwise, this would be the 10th-20th times they have met at the table and produced no peace between the 2 parties. You're not going to have a fair negotiation when the CPP are controlling both judicial and military branches. I still have hope even if CNRP do not win 2018 election. Changes is imminent. We've witness so many historical changes in Eastern Europe and Russia just recently. Cambodia will change economically, socially, and politically, in my opinion, as she grow from a developing nation to a middle income nation. Even if the CPP hardliner don't relinquish their power, they're old and soon new blood, whether it be CPP or CNRP, will lead the nation. These young breeds are more moderate as they are mostly educated in the West.

Anonymous said...


Do not equate the CNRP with the CPP.
The CPP is an off-shoot of the CCP ( Cambodian Communist Party ) created by dead Ho Chin Mighn to serve, not the Khmers'interests but Yuons.

The CNRP must win the 2018 election, so that it can use the mandate to seek help from the international community, namely the signatories of the 1991 Peace Accords.

Neither do you expect the "young breeds " educated in the West.
From all accounts, Hun Manet is being groomed to pick up the baton from his "father ". By some sources, Hun Manet is the biological son of Ly Doc Tho.
The point here is that Khmers MUST halt Viet expansionism on and in Cambodia.

Yes, we Khmers can and will achieve this goal, if and only if the CNRP wins and forms its own government.

Anonymous said...

International donors and the U.S. will not intervene on Kem Sokha's behalf. Are you kidding me? Who are foolish enough to protect a guy who were caught on recorded phone calls asking a young girl at his daughter ages to have an abortion?

Oh man, imagine the "source" eventually release a hidden video of Kem Sokha caught in the steam act with the young girl. What a disgrace!

Kem Sokha does not know what to do. I think CPP is playing it slow to prolong the embarrassment against Kem Sokha.

I think CNRP should cut the loss, disown Kem Sokha, consolidate power to Sam Rainsy. It's an opportunity to fix the problem of a snake with two heads. All Kem Sokha's clan must fold into Sam Rainsy's order or be totally disowned by the people.

The sin of the father is too great. So force on earth can save Kem Sokha, not even the Pope.

Anonymous said...

4:15, I'm not equating CNRP and CPP. YOU misunderstood my point. All i'm saying is that in the event that the CNRP lose, don't give up hope. Changes will come it's only a matter of time . Your assumption is predicated upon the CNRP win. What if Hun Sen continues to cheat his way through the process again are you prepared to accept the consequences and live to fight another day or becoming another statistic.

Anonymous said...


There was no misunderstanding on my part.
Unlike the CNRP, neither the old CPP members nor their " young breeds " could bring change with which the Khmer people are overwhelmed.

From all accounts considered, in spite of the CPP's " road blocks ", the CNRP will win the 2018 election. This time around, history will not repeat itself.
D days will come.

Poster 4:15

Anonymous said...

Here is my 5 cent.

You are both correct. Change must happen. No idiots believe the culture of dialogue even the opposition leaders.

What the opposition leader have done is put on a TV show for the media to give hope. This hope will never happen as long as Hun Sen is alive.

What I am proposing is that Change must happen but Hun Sen must be done to see his father Ho Chi Ming.

Waiting and watching and hoping for the result from 2018 election? Lets not kid.