Esteemed Buddhist Monks,
Today I returned from the successful official visit to the French Republic at the invitation of President Francois Hollande. As I arrived, I called for an urgent meeting with other leaders on issue relating to what happened in the capital city of Phnom Penh on 26 October.
Please allow me to inform you that in September 2015, as I attended the General Assembly of the United Nations and other UN summits, the opposition party organized a demonstration with some 40 to 50 participants, while I was having a meeting with about 300 compatriots there. Once again, when I traveled to France as state guest (of the French Republic) with guards of honor from the airport, motorcades and flag mounting representing Cambodia as nation and race, the opposition party organized another demonstration with some 100 participants as I was at the time conducting my briefing with almost 1000 Cambodians.
The right to hold demonstration has been respected, whether inside or outside the country. It could be seen that what happened in Phnom Penh was in part a repercussion of consecutive demonstrations organized by the opposition in New York and in France. It could be a repercussion or a coincidence because the opposition party has instigated repetitive provocation, irrespective of national honor and dignity. However, right to hold demonstration is respected. According to the report, which I find it difficult to understand, the demonstration in Phnom Penh dissolved before 11 o’clock […] whereas the incident that caused injury to two members of the National Assembly occurred at 12:00 noon. There have been elaborations relating to this event such as (it was caused by) reproaching, love affairs, revenge, and so on. Whatever it may be, there should not be violence, either on members of the National Assembly with immunity or people at large.
From Paris, I issued a number of orders but today I officially declare to the competent authority to search and arrest those culprits. We cannot spare understanding and forgive those culprits, no matter who they may be – supporters of the Cambodian People’s Party, the Royal Government, the opposition or any other person, as long as s/he carried out this cheap act. They must be punished. I learnt that Samdech Chakrey Heng Sarin, President of the National Assembly provided 10,000 USD for each injured members for treatment, I am urging continuation by the National Assembly to take responsibility in their treatment even more than the 10,000 USD provided. The National Assembly must also cover the cost of fixing the vehicle to bring it back to working condition. Our country is democratic and exercising rule of law, but demonstration should not bring violence to anyone, member of the National Assembly or ordinary citizen.
Who those culprits are? Where are they from? I have issued order today for the armed forces to search for the culprits, no matter from where they may be, and bring them for punishment according to law. I am calling on everyone present in the incident, driver of the inflicted members of the National Assembly and footage takers who posted VDO on Facebook to cooperate with competent authority in searching for and arresting the culprits. They may send those footages to competent authority to identify those who committed the offence. Without collaboration from victims to provide information on the incident, the search will be difficult. I hope that those involved, victims are also included, will fully cooperate with competent authority, while compatriots who took the footage also will provide them for us to take legal actions without forgiveness and discrimination. Cambodia has only one standard, those who committed guilty acts must receive punishment by law.
I hope that there will be a good cooperation and appeal to every citizen to be calm and go on with their daily life. It was unfortunate that it happened. Use of right for demonstration already exercised. Incident occurred thereafter. It was bizarre. No matter how strange that looks, the most important issue is to search and arrest the culprits and bring them to trial. I also appealed to those who committed the guilt to come out and confess. It is best to take responsibility before the law. I hope that there will be full cooperation and the competent authority, especially the armed forces, such as police, and the justice officials, will work well together on this matter. I am appealing to everyone who knows backgrounds to provide information to competent authority so that the culprits will be brought to punishment according to law.