Cambodia
20.02.06
Urgent Interventions

Cambodia: Update of case KHM 201005

Case KHM 201005.2 (Update)
Follow-up of Case KHM 201005

Judicial proceedings

Geneva, February 20, 2006

The International Secretariat of OMCT has received new information regarding the following situation in Cambodia.

New information

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by a reliable source that on 3 February 2006 government lawyers officially withdrew government complaints against Mr. Rong Chun, president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, Mr. Chea Mony, president of the Free Trade Union of Worker of the Kingdom of Cambodia (FTUWKC), and Mr. Mam Sonando, director of Beehive Radio. However, criminal charges against them remain pending.

Indeed, under the so-called UNTAC Law that was adopted in 1992 (Provisions relating to the Judiciary and Criminal Law and Procedure Applicable in Cambodia during the Transitional Period), the withdrawal of a criminal defamation complaint does not mean that the charges are dropped. On the contrary, the judge at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court announced that he would continue to investigate against Mr. Rong Chun, Mr. Chea Mony and Mr. Mam Sonando.

Therefore, a Damokles Sword remains hanged above these individuals, which might be used in order to silence them. Under the UNTAC Law, “any accused person, whether or not in detention, must be judged no later than six months after arrest” (Article 21).

With regards to the situation of Mr. Ea Channa, Deputy Secretary General of the Student Movement for Democracy, and Mr. Man Nath, President of the Cambodian Independent Civil Servant association, both managed to leave the country. Charges remain against them and complaints have not been withdrawn in these two cases.

Brief reminder of the situation

On 15 October, 2005, Mr. Rong Chun had been arrested at Poi Pet Checkpoint, Banteay Meancheay Province at 3 pm, brought to Phnom Penh Municipal Court and charged with “defamation against the Prime Minister”, and “inciting others to commit a crime without that crime being committed”. The charges against him were based on a statement made by him and Mr. Chea Mony, Mr. Man Nath and Mr. Ea Channa on 11 October, 2005, pertaining to the signature of a border agreement concluded between the Prime Minister and Vietnam’s Prime Minister on the next day. All four are members of the “Cambodia Watchdog Council” a coalition of trade unions and associations. Mr. Chun was detained in Prey Sar Prison.

Mr. Mam Sonando had been arrested on 11 October, 2005, for broadcasting an interview with a Cambodian activist who critized a Cambodia-Vietnam border treaty to be signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen. Mr. Mam Sonando was initially charged under the Cambodian criminal law with defamation and later with disformation and “incitement of others to commit a criminal offense without the offense being committed”.

On 17 January, 2006, Mr. Om Tentieng, Government Spokesperson, said that the Cambodian Prime Minister had agreed, after a meeting with the US envoy Mr. Christopher Hill, who was in Phnom Penh on occasion of the inauguration of the new US embassy, to write a letter to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to allow bail for Mr. Rong Chun and Mr. Mam Sonado. Following this letter, the two men were released on bail. At that time, charges remained standing against them.

Action requested:

Please write to the authorities of Cambodia urging them to:
i. Guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Rong Chun, Mr. Mam Sonado and Mr. Chea Mony;
ii. Ensure that the charges against Mr. Rong Chun, Mr. Mam Sonando, Mr. Chea Mony, Mr. Man Nath and Mr. Ea Channa be dropped;
iii. Ensure respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards.

Adresses:

  • Prime Minister, Hun Sen, Office of the Prime Minister, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Fax: +855 23 360666/88 10 45 (c/o Council of Ministers)

  • Deputy Prime Minister and Co-Minister of Interior, Sar Kheng, 275 Norodom Blvd, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Fax: +855 23 21 27 08

  • Secretary of State, Long Visalo, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Tera Vithei Preah, Sisowath Blvd, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Fax: + 855 23 216 144/939

  • Hor Nam Hong, Minister of Foreign Affairs, 161 Preah Sisowath Quay, cnr rue 204, Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia, Fax: + 855 23 21 61 44 or + 855 23 21 61 42

  • Niev Sithong, Minister of Justice, 14 blvd Sothearos, Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia, Fax: + 855 23 21 63 22 or + 855 23 36 41 19

  • Minister & President of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee, Om Yentieng, Office of the Prime Minister, Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia, Fax: +855 12 81 37 81/ +855 23 21 11 62 or +855 23 88 10 45 (c/o Council of Ministers)

  • Ambassadeur, Suos, Someth, Mission permanente du Royaume du Cambodge, Ch. Taverney 3, CP 213, 1218 Grand-Saconnex, Suisse, Fax : +4122 788.77.74


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Geneva, February 20, 2006
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
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