A Change of Guard

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Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Sam Rainsy appeal to authority to bring perpetrators of the 1997 grenade attacks to justice

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By Khmerization
Source: RFA and Kampuchea Thmey

Mr. Sam Rainsy, leader of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP), has appealed from his self-exile in Paris for the perpetrators of the 1997 grenade attacks to be brought to justice and for the America FBI to continue its investigation of the case, reports Radio Free Asia.

On 30th March 1997, four grenades were thrown into a crowd of demonstrators organised by the Khmer Nation Party, the precursor of the SRP, killing 19 and wounded more than 160 people. The opposition parties, civil society and the American FBI's investigations found initial evidences that pointed the finger to Prime Minister Hun Sen's Bodyguard Unit what was posted nearby at the time.

Speaking by telephone from france on the 13th anniversary of the attacks, Mr. Rainsy has called for the perpetrators and masterminds of the attacks to be brought to justice. "The perpetrators and their accomplices, who caused the deaths of our compatriots, those criminals will be arrested and punished according to the laws", he said.

Mrs. Sam Vanney, a representative of the victims' families, has also called for justice. "I call on the government to re-open the investigation into this crime in order to unmask the killers and the masterminds and bring them to justice", she said.

According to Kampuchea Thmey, Mr. Rainsy said the grenade attacks were linked to people in high positions. Tith Sothea, member of the government's Press Quickk Reaction Unit, has rejected Mr. Rainsy's accusations as baseless. Gen. Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said the investigation into the attacks is ongoing. When asked why after 13 years no one was arrested, he said the authority needs time to investigate the case thoroughly.

At the same time, hundreds of monks and people attended the 13th commemorative ceremony of the attacks in Phnom Penh yesterday. Mr. John Johnson, spokesman for the U.S Embassy has been seen attending and monitoring the event also.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch has also called for the Cambodian government and the American FBI to re-launch their investigations into the attacks.

After the attacks, the American FBI launched an investigation by withdrew its staff from Cambodia after their safety was threatened. The FBI's preliminary reports pointed the fingers Prime Minister Hun Sen's Bodyguard Unit posted nearby.

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