This apologetic tone of Nhek Bunchhay over the Hun Sen regime's brutality and random violence against so many of Khmer victims is morally reprehensible, pathetic and at the same while, somewhat understandable for one who was subsequently elevated to the rank of 'Deputy PM' within the same regime's administration. The violence and coup taking place in 1997 was an inevitable outcome or culmination of a sequence of decisions and their consequences that began earlier with Sihanouk's inability to foresee the next moves made by his political opponents via the negotiations that ostensibly centred on 'national unity' and 'reconciliation' among 'Khmers'.
No one in their right state of mind, for instance, would ever consider assimilating or integrating their armed forces into a unified military command structure where your former enemies outnumber you in physical strength by about 3 to 1. Worse, the decision to move the bulk of Funcinpec's armed forces into the heart of your enemy's territory on the outskirt of the capital at Tang Krasang speaks volumes of the poverty in decision making and the lack of sense on the part of the actors involved. Why complain of the disparity in strength and the swift last nail in the coffin violence of 5-6 July 1997 when it is you [and Funcinpec's hierarchy] who had maneuvered yourself into the trap in the first place?
Casting suspicion and attributing responsibility onto the victims or the political opposition for the Veng Streng violence or for that disproportionate use of military force to quell unarmed youths and workers is equally pathetic and "beyond the civilised pale" - in the words of one of Hun Sen's old friends and apologists from Down Under.