After the farewell call-on by the outgoing Ambassador of Malaysia, Samdech Hun Sen answered some of the press questions regarding rumors of Cabinet reshuffle, the trial of opposition MPs, the close cooperation between the Cambodian People’s Party and Funcinpec, and the tribunal for the Khmer Rouge genocide.
… As far as the Cabinet reshuffle is concerned, Samdech Krom Preah (Norodom Ranaridh) and I never brought it up in our discussions. Samdech Krom Preah never mentioned to me Funcinpec’s wish to change their quota ministers or secretary of states. I wish also to make clear on those ministers and secretary of states of the CPP quota that I will let them work till the end of this term, while those with inability to perform their duties for next term, would be discussed later. As far as this matter is concerned, the Cambodian People’s Party, their leaders, including myself as the Prime Minister of the Royal Government of Cambodia, never discussed or think about this matter at all.
… I am making this point clear so that any exploitation from the state of instability causing by the rumors would not happen. As I have read in some papers the issues have been raised aimed at exploiting a political situation for their benefits. I never receive proposed changes of Cabinet members from the coalition partner, and the CPP leaders never discuss its quota reshuffle.
… On the trial (of opposition MPs) I think it is the court matter. Anyone committed offense will have to be brought to justice, a legal process of which enjoys the support of the Royal Government. The case concerned issue of shadow government, including shadow armed forces with their rank and file levels, regional levels, and commanders and sub-commanders, etc. The court will have total authority in probing about who would be behind the plot. They may follow this matter through to its origins though, for instance, the involvement of financial commitment from foreign sources. Whether this drama is over with the closing of Cheam Channy’s case or not is in the judicial authority of the court.
… Recruitment of soldiers, theft of military information is by far the most serious destruction of national security, where in some countries verdict would be a death sentence. Take for instance we all may know who bin Laden is. He was one of the soldiers fought against the Kabul’s regime with the US support, but later on he has become the one who led terrorist attacks on the US and its interest every where. This is an example that we all have to bear in mind. Any supports offered to abnormal armed forces would in the end bring about serious problem. Cambodia needs security and safety. As an independent country we do not accept destructive recommendations under the pretext of democracy. To be democratic, you could do whatever you may wish to – in forms of non-governmental, open forum, writing papers, etc. except resort to armed forces establishment.
… If we were to have terrorist actions staged by those forces, what would those recommended the establishment do before national and international laws? They may start from a few people, but when they come to thousands, they may possess ability to launch destructive explosions on hotels, embassies, etc. When they turned out to be terrorist groups, would those recommended their establishments be brought to national and international justice? This may reply to my rhetorical question of “who is bin Laden?” Cambodia has got its way of democracy where there should not be recommendations for such a shadow army and/or government. We all want rule of law, so we have to abide by the law. Any move to establish such a structure is illegal.
… On the front of cooperation between CPP and Funcinpec, I think we have jointly provided various achievements for our people. CPP would not claim it alone, as the two parties should be seen as two complementary hands. Also there should not be a distinction between left and right, as they each prove to be equally important. Some people make a groundless prediction that Funcinpec would slip further in 2008. As political parties we all want to be elected or the winners. CPP is also trying to expand itself as a political party. Some people say they do not want power, but it is worth remarking that they are politicians whose parties failed to get elected, and was dissolved. They do not want power because they were not given power, as their parties failed to get people’s support.
… Maybe this would lead us to discussion about the removal of the Khmer Rouge regime and disbanding its military and political organization. This happened in just a short span of time, if we were to talk about it within the frame of win-win policy which was launched in full swing in 1996. From the first breakaway from Khmer Rouge organization, followed by late 1998 and early 1999 final efforts to put an end to half-a-century old military and political organization, it took Cambodia a span of three years. However, the discussion over how to bring the Khmer Rouge leaders to trial, which started in 1999, is still going on in 2005.
… The legal process in setting up the tribunal has now been completed in which issues of funding and staffing are underway. On the Cambodian side, as is known to everyone that the country is poor, it has set aside a sum of money as a contribution from its part for the trial. I hope to appeal to foreign countries, who might have contributed some amount of money for the trial to the United Nations to provide some more to help cover the Cambodian share or else the funding issue would turn to be a concern. The process seems moving though perhaps in a slow manner. However, it would be important to reassure that the efforts would not be backtracking. The Royal Government would not be lacking the will to go ahead with the trial, but it would happen whenever the money is provided.
… There have been, for example, efforts to restore parliamentary immunity (to those stripped off) through international pressure. I dislike the term international pressure over Hun Sen as Cambodia would do anything it can to keep its independence. So I wish to reiterate that in face of international pressure, the prisoners would go on staying longer in jail. For any attempts to propose to HM the King to provide amnesty, according to law, they will have to first serve one third of their jail term. I would not give any mercy on that and would expect the case probe will go as long as it may reach…