Guide to pages
Cambodia's 1998 Election
(Page 2 of 9)
Murder with complete impunity: The foundation of victory
Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 7, 1998
SRP CHALLENGES AUTHORITIES TO END "VILLAGE 15" TERROR (By SRP Staff)
The Sam Rainsy Party has filed complaints both to the National Election Committee and to the Phnom Penh municipal police over its two officials who were kidnapped, beaten and robbed in the city's infamous Village 15 in the early morning of Sunday, July 5.
The complaint to the NEC, dated July 7, names a man known as "A Khmau" ("black guy"), a man named Em Keo, and associates who are members of the "militia" of Village 15, Tonle Bassac, Chamkarmon quarter. It accuses the three of violating Article 71 of the election law, which prohibits intimidation, threats and violence by political parties against citizens.
These three men stopped Hak Savuth and Mey Mon, SRP officials from Takeo province, who were riding their motorbike in the area. After they found an SRP membership card on one of the men, they started to beat them viciously. Then they brought the two victims to a different area in the village and demanded 60,000 riel, saying that was the fee for releasing them. But the party officials had only 10,000 riel. They were held in a shack marked as the "office" of neighboring Village 14 until 12:30 pm on Sunday, when SRP officials from the nearby headquarters arrived with a representative of the UN human rights office, secured their release and brought them to the hospital.
The party also filed a complaint to the municipal police, accusing the three assailants of violating Article 5 of the political party law, which says that citizens are free to join a party of their own choice, and Article 34 and 35 of the UNTAC penal code.
In the past month at least five SRP supporters have been attacked by thugs from Village 15. Most of them have been held captive for hours while being beaten. Before that, in May, an SRP security guard was held prisoner in the office of a person known as the boss of Village 15. SRP staff and a UN official went to negotiate his release. During negotiations, the local bosses and the militia members told an SRP official that they took orders only from Chea Sophara, the deputy governor of Phnom Penh. After an hour the bosses allowed the security guard to be released.
Village 15 is located on land that is owned by the municipality. Its residents are squatters there, but the SRP is not advocating that they be evicted, saying that the overwhelming majority of people in Village 15 are merely poor people who are also terrorized by the bosses of the village, who carry guns openly and disregard the law.
However it is becoming apparent that the organized criminal gang that runs Village 15 has decided to systematically terrorize members and supporters of the SRP, which has its national headquarters across the street.
"We demand that the municipal authorities put a stop to these attacks and bring the men who have committed them to justice," said Eng Chhay Eang, the SRP's chief of cabinet. "If these thugs are not under the control of the municipality, then the authorities should have no hesitation to go in and arrest them."
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For more information, call Yim Sokha (855-23-801-418) or Rich Garella (855-12-802-062).
Phnom Penh, July 8, 1998
STATEMENT ON GRENADE INCIDENT OF MONDAY, JULY 6
The Sam Rainsy Party denounces all efforts that may be made to implicate our party in any criminal acts or acts of violence. Any such effort made by the ruling party or its associates is nothing but an obvious effort to set the scene for disqualification of our party, either before or after elections that the ruling party is afraid will go badly for them.
At 7:45 pm on July 6, in what is known as "Hun Sen park," we understand a grenade explosion killed at least one person. Many rumors have been circulating about who is guilty of committing this terrible act. They have been fed, purposely or not, by the actions of government officials who are also high-ranking members of the Cambodian People's Party.
Koh Santepheap, a newspaper that is commonly known as having ties to the CPP, reported on July 8 that a "very reliable source" said that Interior police have arrested two people, that the Interior Ministry has an audio tape that implicates an opposition party's "number 3 person" in ordering the attack, and that the opposition party is one that is named after its leader. Meanwhile, The Cambodia Daily reported that the judicial police denied that anyone has been arrested.
The SRP has absolutely no involvement in any act of violence. We have been the victims of the cruelest, most barbaric acts of violence. We know too well the suffering of innocent people. We are completely committed to peaceful and legal means to earn the trust of the Cambodian people to form the next government.
We are aware that accusations of this kind may be used as a tool to try to disqualify us from the elections. We believe the likelihood of such a tactic being used will increase, as the prospect of a poor electoral showing by the ruling party increases. That party, which is in control of all the security forces, can arrest anyone, whether they are opposition party members or not, and force them to confess to any crime and describe any kind of elaborate, fictional plot that they dream up.
They have done it before. Srun Vong Vannak, the head of security for Sam Rainsy, was arrested and illegally detained in February 1997, incommunicado, by police who forced him to confess to planning the murder of Hun Sen's brother-in-law. Although he renounced his confession at the earliest opportunity, he was convicted and he is now serving a 13-year sentence. Amnesty International considers him to be a political prisoner.
We are not yet aware of any of our members having been arrested in the July 6 case. We urge all government security forces, legal or illegal, to reveal who they have detained, if anyone, immediately, as required by law. We urge all law enforcement bodies to present any evidence they have that might show that this act was political and not personal. We urge them to work closely with any appropriate international authorities in order to validate such evidence, if they have it.
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NATIONAL UNITED FRONT
CAMBODIAN NEUTRAL PARTY - FUNCINPEC - SAM RAINSY PARTY - SON SANN PARTY
[TRANSLATION FROM KHMER]
Phnom Penh, July 10, 1998
Excellency Chheng Phon
National Election Committee
Kingdom of Cambodia
The National United Front and its constituent parties have the honor of communicating to you certain of our concerns regarding the polling process and ballot counting. We are confident that you and the other members of the National Election Committee will give our suggestions all due consideration, in the highest interests of the nation and the people of Cambodia.
1. Neutrality of the Polling Station Committees (PSCs)
PSC members must either be non-partisan or at least represent a fair mix of the political parties in the country. The Commune Election Committees must be supervised to insure that they do not select only CPP members who come from the same village and have worked together during registration. Many village and commune chiefs now sit on the PSCs. This is the level at which fraud is most likely to be organized.
2. Clarifying eligibility of party observers
Under current NEC rules, only people who have voter cards will be allowed to be party observers, and they must observe in the same polling station at which they are registered. This will force observers to look for, and supposedly report, violations in the same place where they may be subject to intimidation. The NEC has explained this by saying that otherwise the observer might not be able to vote-however, every registered person is free to vote or not vote. Parties should be free to ask their observers to go to any station.
The NEC should follow both the Law on Elections and the Constitution in deciding who can serve as a party observer. The Law on Elections (Article 26) says that each party can send "one of its representatives among the persons who have the right to vote" to observe at each polling station. Having the right to vote is defined in the Constitution and is broader than the registration rules. The existing rule excludes from observing a whole class of citizens who have the right to vote, including overseas Cambodian citizens who are less subject to intimidation.
To conform with the Constitution and the law, the NEC should allow any Cambodian citizen who is designated by a party and is least 18 years of age to be a party observer at any polling station in the country.
3. Credibility of ballot secrecy
The NEC should ask the King to tape record his message about secrecy of the ballot, and it should be broadcast heavily on TV and radio, especially just before and on polling day. The text of the King's appeal should be enlarged and posted on the front of all polling stations.
4. Transportation of voters
To help prevent large-scale fraud, and to reduce certain forms of intimidation and coercion, all transport of individuals other than election officials and observers should be prohibited on the polling day. Exception should be made for family members traveling together and for disabled people receiving transport. Similar rules have been used in many developing countries as an anti-fraud measure.
5. Prevention of ink substitution
Observers should be permitted to test the ink on their own fingers, in order to make sure that the ink has not been replaced with washable ink. A complementary means of preventing multiple voting at a single station might be desirable, for example, a hole punch in a specified area of the voter card, using a specially shaped bit.
6. Allowing disabled people to vote freely
NEC regulation 8.2 says that only the president of the PSC can assist blind or disabled people to vote. The regulation must be changed to allow a family member to help the person vote, as in most countries.
7. Commune-level mixing of ballots
Ballots from the entire commune must be mixed together, as per the purpose of Annex D, Article 137d of the Election Law. NEC regulation 7.9.2 should be changed, and the change should be publicized so voters know that their village cannot be identified along with a smaller number of villages with which its votes are mixed.
8. Post-campaign surveys
NEC Rule 7.2 allows private surveys of voters on the day before polling, after the campaign period. This rule should be changed. No surveys should be allowed after the campaign period, as certain forms of intimidation or campaigning may be claimed to be a survey.
We deeply appreciate Your Excellency's willingness to consider and implement these suggestions, which we believe will increase the fairness and credibility of the elections and raise the degree to which the elections reflect the will of the Cambodian people.
With assurances of our highest consideration,
TOL LAH SOUS VANTHA
Secretary-General of FUNCINPEC Secretary-General of Cambodian Neutral Party
YIM SOKHA KEM SOKHA
Secretary-General of Sam Rainsy Party Secretary-General of Son Sann Party
Phnom Penh, July 12, 1998
SRP ACTIVIST BEATEN UNCONSCIOUS BY CPP GROUP LEADER "Slit her throat and throw her in the river," he orders
By SRP staff
Just after returning from a Sam Rainsy Party rally in Battambang town to her home in Sdau, an SRP activist was beaten unconscious by the local Cambodian People's Party group leader.
Sdau is a market town in Banon district about half way between Battambang and Pailin. At 3pm on Friday, July 10, Neang Nal Siev came back to Sdau from a rally in Battambang, where party president Sam Rainsy spoke before about 3000 people in front of the provincial hall. She reports:
"When I arrived at my house, a man named Top asked me what I had received for going there. Then another man, Thy, who is known as "Barang", started to insult me, calling me a "sompoeng ontarak cheat" [whore to foreigners] and "a whore sleeping with Sam Rainsy" and other abusive terms.
"Then he beat me until I was unconscious. When I became conscious, I heard Thy calling his daughters, Neang Long and Neang Sophea, to bring a knife and slit my throat and throw me in the river, and he shouted that I have three or four brains [am dishonest or disloyal]. Everybody is scared of Thy." [translation by SRP staff]
Thy is a CPP cell leader, responsible for ensuring the loyalty of 20 to 30 families to the CPP. Siev's report is signed by two other witnesses.
"This is their strategy," said Eng Chhay Eang, chief of Sam Rainsy's cabinet, "First the ruling party demands that its cell leaders show results, and second it makes sure there is no investigation or punishment for those who commit these acts for the party. Their supporters, like Thy, can threaten, beat up or kill anyone to keep them under control. People like Siev are supposed to be examples, but Siev is not an example of fear, she is an example of courage. The Cambodian people take this risk, because they want to live in freedom."
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For more information on this incident, call Lon Phon (855-15-832-443) in Battambang.
Note on Battambang explosives incident of July 30: After investigation by mine experts, it has become apparent that the packages delivered to an SRP rally in Battambang contained packs of fuses, not actual explosives. We believe that the motivation remains the same: to remind opposition party supporters that they can be murdered for organizing a peaceful political activity. We look forward to an investigation of this act, which was a form of terrorism whether the "bombs" in this case were theoretically capable of exploding or not.
Phnom Penh, July 13, 1998
OPEN LETTER TO MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL ELECTION COMMITTEE
from the Cabinet of the President, Sam Rainsy Party
As of Monday, July 13, there are only 12 days left during which the National Election Committee has agreed to show five-minute videotapes submitted by each political party. Even though the Committee has given us only five minutes of free air time a day, it continues to raise objections to the showing of the tape. Meanwhile, the Cambodian People's Party blankets the airwaves with biased coverage of its own activities.
The Sam Rainsy Party submitted its latest video, number nine, on Friday, July 10. The video tells about the events of March 30, 1997, when four grenades shattered a peaceful demonstration for an independent judiciary, led by Sam Rainsy. At least 16 people died. Many others were permanently injured.
Our video shows scenes from that day, including the march and the aftermath of the attack. It shows nothing but the truth about what happened that day. It is a truth that cannot be hidden from the people. The scenes are shocking because this truth is shocking. The masterminds of that crime wanted to kill the democratic spirit in Cambodia, but they failed. They are still trying to kill it today, but they will fail.
On July 11, your president, Chheng Phon, sent a letter to our president, Sam Rainsy, citing unspecified possible violations of the Electoral Code of Conduct created by the NEC. We find nothing in the Code that would prohibit this video, and indeed there should be nothing in the Code that prohibits the truth from being known. Even so, the video does not contain any specific accusations. It does not name Hun Sen or his organization as orchestrating the attack and blocking any investigation into it.
Rainsy responded to Chheng Phon on July 12, saying that we insist on the video being shown. That day, your spokesman said to Agence France-Presse, "This kind of propaganda violates human beings and is unacceptable….It is provocation and trying to benefit from the dead."
The violation of human beings took place on March 30, 1997. It continues to take place every day all over Cambodia. Now that election day nears, the perpetrators of that attack want us to forget the atrocity they planned, executed, and tried to cover up.
On Monday July 13, NEC staff told Ou Bun Long, an SRP staff, there was a problem with the tape. Khieu Rada, the former secretary-general of the Khmer Nation Party, SRP's forerunner, briefly appears next to Rainsy. Rada is now the president of another party. The NEC said that if we want to run the tape as is, we would have to write a letter taking full responsibility for any problems.
We are not aware of any complaint from Rada, and there is no reason to think he could have seen the tape yet. We do not think there should be any problem with his appearance there at a public event. However, we altered the tape, blurring his face so that he is not recognizable, and resubmitted it to the NEC by 1:00 pm on July 13, along with a letter confirming that this is the video we want to show and we are responsible for it.
The people will never allow the memory of their brothers and sisters to be erased. The people will never let the murderers or anyone else forget the monstrosity of this crime. The people will never let anyone forget that this election campaign is a struggle for justice built out of our memories of our dead and our hopes for our future.
We hope to see video number nine broadcast tonight.
Phnom Penh, July 13, 1998
COMPLAINT TO THE NATIONAL ELECTION COMMITTEE
The Cambodian People's Party and the television stations Apsara, Bayon, TVK (national television), TV5 (RCAF), TV3 (Phnom Penh municipality), TV9 (Khmer television) have violated the National Election Committee's media rules.
NEC Rule 7.10 requires that free access to the media must be granted on an equal basis. The NEC's Media Regulation, article 3, requires both state and private media to respect the laws, Code of Conduct, and the NEC's regulations and procedures. Article 6 of the Media Regulation requires all television stations to cease electoral campaign activities in direct or indirect support of any individual, group or political party interest during the campaign period, unless otherwise requested by the NEC.
The national and private stations based in Phnom Penh continue to select and broadcast material that consistently shows CPP officials and activities in a positive light. Meanwhile there is a near black out of other parties and of any events, no matter how newsworthy, that might show other parties in a positive light.
This favoritism goes far beyond the expected extra coverage granted to CPP officials who are also high government officials. It started long before the electoral campaign period and has continued throughout the campaign period.
The United Nations has extensively documented this bias in a report by its Special Representative for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg.
We demand that the NEC follow up the United Nations report, and either stop the national stations in particular from showing this extreme favoritism, or open up the airwaves to be accessible to everybody equitably as the law requires. Furthermore, the Cambodian People's Party should be required to use its influence with these stations to make them determine their content fairly.
July 13, 1998
COMPLAINT TO NATIONAL ELECTION COMMITTEE
The Pursat provincial office of the Sam Rainsy Party has reported a series of threats against SRP organizers there. These threats demonstrate a pattern of abuses by the Cambodian People's Party and its agents in Pursat, in violation of Article 124 of the Law on Election of Members of Parliament.
1. Two uniformed soldiers stopped Mean Sarith, the vice president of SRP of Pursat province, on July 7 as he was riding his motorbike. One of them told him, "Stop working for the Sam Rainsy Party right away or you will die."
2. Naom Dara, the president of SRP Youth in Kondieng district found a note at his front door on July 10, reading, "Gang leader who raises membership for SRP, I shoot to kill." Yin Kam Sann, another SRP organizer, also found a note, which read, "Stop working for SRP or you'll die."
3. After the village chief of Kra Peu Roh, CPP member Hang Sok, filed a complaint with the Province Election Commission against the SRP's Mean Sarith, he passed the word to SRP membership that if he loses the case he will kill Mean Sarith. Sok had accused Sarith of insulting him and the CPP. Kra Peu Roh is in Snarm Preh commune, Bakarn district.
4. On June 26, in Roleap village of Roleap commune, Ampoeu Mean district, as the SRP was ending a campaign rally, the police chief of the commune, Plong Heou, demanded a list of the names of all the people who attended, with their thumbprints. Just before the people started to leave the rally, the police told the people to stand up and raise their hands to count off.
For more information on these cases, call Mean Sarith, Pursat vice president, at 052-951-496.
We ask the NEC to quickly investigate this complaint and press the legal authorities to assist and promote an investigation. If the authorities are at all independent, and if they have any interest in promoting a climate for free and fair elections, they will take action to identify and punish those who break the election law. So far they have never done so.
APPEAL FOR DEMILITARIZED ELECTORAL PROCESS
Phnom Penh, July 16, 1998
Being aware of an increase in military movement in various parts of Cambodia, the Sam Rainsy Party appeals to the present government to allow the electoral process to proceed without violence, intimidation or involvement of military and police forces in the electoral process.
The Sam Rainsy Party appeals for all sides to cease any use of troops for partisan political purposes, and appeals to all military and police forces to give their loyalty to the nation, not to any political party or political leader.
The Sam Rainsy Party has neither the ability nor the will to use anything other than legal and peaceful means in the electoral process. If the election takes place with any reasonable level of fairness and we receive the popular mandate, we will respect and protect all members of police and military forces who maintain their neutrality and uphold their legal responsibilities.
The Sam Rainsy Party will strive for national reconciliation and the integration of all armed forces into a neutral Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, loyal only to the nation and people of Cambodia under the Constitution.
July 16, 1998
COMPLAINT TO THE NATIONAL ELECTION COMMITTEE
Organized attempt to displace neutral observers by replacing them with unqualified individuals, in many cases soldiers.
Description of event:
A small Cambodian NGO, the Buddhist Relief Association, has suddenly mustered more than 20,000 election observers, many of whom are reported to be soldiers.
1. This NGO appears to be closely linked to the Vice President of the Cambodian People's Party, Mr. Hun Sen.
2. NEC rules seem to allow Polling Station Committee Presidents to decide how to allocate time among neutral observers. 3. Many soldiers of the RCAF are not politically neutral, and are in fact loyal to the Cambodian People's Party.
4. Polling Station Committee members have been chosen through a process that favors the Cambodian People's Party.
This appears to be a concerted effort by the Cambodian People's Party to displace observers trained and chosen by long-standing and well-respected election-watching groups such as COFFEL and COMFREL. Together with other polling station control efforts, the Cambodian People's Party may be poised to seize control of many polling stations while legitimate observers are absent.
We urge the National Election Committee to address this problem by making an explicit ruling that ensures the constant presence of truly neutral observers.
See also The Cambodia Daily, Tuesday and Wednesday, July 14 and 15.
Sam Rainsy Party
July 17, 1998
CONDEMNATION OF KRATIE KILLINGS
The Sam Rainsy Party condemns the heartless and evil attack that took the lives of four people in Kratie on Wednesday. There can be no excuse or justification for such a crime, whether motivated by greed, politics or ethnic hatred.
We are outraged by suggestions that opposition groups could be responsible for this atrocity. There is no room in the Sam Rainsy Party for anyone who would participate in or advocate a crime of violence, especially during the electoral process.
We beg all Cambodians, as individuals and as members of groups, from all political parties, from all security forces, and from all ethnic groups to respect each other's rights. Any act of violence is a betrayal of the nation and the people of Cambodia.
NATIONAL UNITED FRONT
CAMBODIAN NEUTRAL PARTY - FUNCINPEC - SAM RAINSY PARTY - SON SANN PARTY
To members of the Joint International Observing Group and the United States election observation delegation Phnom Penh, July 17, 1998
We are increasingly distressed by the failure of the National Election Committee to seriously address our concerns throughout the electoral process. Complaint after complaint has been ignored. The media is still tightly controlled by the ruling party and is far from fair in its coverage. Threats, assaults and killings go uninvestigated. Serious flaws in the plans for polling day threaten to destroy what little credibility remains in this electoral process.
The NEC has created an electoral process that gives the impression of solid construction, but retains certain weak points. These weak points coincide in many cases with the organizational strengths of the Cambodian People's Party, which selected the NEC's members. We do not believe this is a coincidence.
We draw your attention to the July 10 letter from the National United Front to H.E. Chheng Phon, President of the National Election Committee, and the dismissive response the NEC released on July 15, along with our brief analysis of the NEC response (attached).
We attempted in good faith to point out real problems in the polling process. We made these suggestions as early as possible, given the forced compression of the time-line for election preparations, the time needed for analysis and our own organizational resources, which are admittedly limited in comparison to those of the NEC and the CPP.
Unfortunately, the NEC response avoids any decision or commitment that might help prevent abuses on polling day. The responses are evasive and empty of substance, using unclear wording to obscure an answer, when precise wording would be available if they actually wanted to address the issue. They are made subject to conditions that make them irrelevant. Some are circular, referring to other NEC rules (which the NEC could change). In other cases, the NEC interprets the Election Law unnecessarily narrowly. Some of the explanations are bizarre and counter to normal reasoning processes.
We deeply regret that the National Electoral Commission has chosen to discard the opportunity we have offered to improve the electoral process and to make it more credible.
We appeal to observers of the elections to remember this lost opportunity when they assess the fairness of the electoral process, which may now be irreparably damaged.
Brief Analysis of "NEC Responds to Parties Concerns" (released July 15, 1998)
1) No one can seriously believe that "a notice to members of Commune Election Commissions who are or were commune or village chiefs reminding them that the law requires them to be neutral" will be enough to guarantee their neutrality, let alone reassure voters who are subject to their control the rest of the year.
2) We pointed out that according to the law, parties should be able to assign any observer to any polling station. The NEC response sidesteps the issue, and in doing so reaffirms the control of the Commune Election Commission over the party observer.
3) Broadcasting the King's message on the secrecy of the ballot only on the polling day unnecessarily limits the audience of the message and may delay it until after many people have voted. The NEC does not say how many times the message will be broadcast, at what time, on what media, or why it cannot be broadcast sooner. The NEC says it will print the poster bearing
the King's message as we suggested, but for some reason does not commit to putting it up in every polling station.
4) We ask for a limit on transport of unrelated individuals on polling day. The NEC says it "will consider requesting" a ban on "mass transportation" but not on "private transportation". None of these are defined; the request would be meaningless.
5) The NEC rejects our proposal for a hole punch in a specified area of the voter card saying that voting card could be punched anywhere. This ignores our suggestion to use a specially shaped bit, and generally defies logic-the point is to prevent double voting. Hole-punching was successfully used by UNTAC in 1993.
6) Maintaining that people unable to vote by themselves can only be assisted by Polling Station staff even if they prefer a family member who is also voting is an unnecessarily strict interpretation of the Election Law. It serves only to safeguard the ability of Polling Station Commission's president to influence the vote of the blind or disabled. 7) Mixing only three ballot boxes violates Article 137d, Annex D, of the Election Law by counting not at the commune level but at a "three-villages" level at minimum. Surely there is a way to overcome the problem of the size of the mixing bags.
8) It is still unclear what constitutes "canvassing" as opposed to personal visits.
Phnom Penh, July 17, 1998
Excellency Kofi A. Annan
The United Nations
Subject: Urgent appeal on the Cambodian electoral process
As the polling day approaches for Cambodia's long-awaited election for members of the National Assembly, there are increasing signs that the Cambodian People's Party led by Second Prime Minister Hun Sen is considering aggressive action against the political opposition and the democratic process itself.
There have been many reports of increasing movements of troops and military equipment all over the country. This saber-rattling may be intended to coerce the population to vote for the ruling party out of fear, or it may be preparation for military action.
In either case it must stop immediately if the democratic process is to proceed.
That troubling development is accompanied by increasing indications that the security apparatus controlled by the ruling party is preparing to create an excuse either to disqualify opposition parties from the election or to arrest individual officers of the opposition parties.
Senior CPP security personnel have accused troops loyal to Prince Ranariddh of planning disruption during the elections. The director of National Police, Hok Lundy, has issued a report, which attempts to link people arrested as Khmer Rouge members to the Sam Rainsy Party. An order to arrest a high-ranking official of our party was issued on July 7 by the Ministry of Interior, then rescinded.
Meanwhile, the number of political threats, assaults and killings appears to have risen sharply in the final weeks before polling. Despite many complaints to the National Election Committee, there has been no credible investigation into any of these crimes.
These immediate and serious threats to the electoral process itself take place as the ruling party puts the final touches on what now appears to be an integrated plan to control the polling process at most of the polling stations across the country. Formal requests by the National United Front on these and other issues have been dismissed, evaded or ignored by the National Election Committee.
1. The National Election Committee has allowed Polling Station Committees to be staffed by village and commune chiefs appointed by the ruling party, with no safeguards other than a request that they behave impartially.
2. Disturbing reports in the independent, English-language Cambodia Daily indicate that tens of thousands of election observers, many of them soldiers, have been suddenly mustered by a little-known local organization. National Election Committee rules empower Polling Station Committees to allow them to displace for most of the day the legitimate national observers chosen and trained by reputable election-watching coalitions.
3. The National Election Committee has required, for no apparent reason, that party observers must observe in the same commune where they are registered, putting them under the coercive influence of the village or commune chiefs who staff the stations.
4. Foreign observers will be present at less than 10 percent of polling stations, and for only an hour or less at each.
The combination of these tactics opens the door to widespread flouting of the polling station rules, which is likely to result in extensive ballot-box stuffing at many stations. They are the ingredients of an election that is neither transparent nor credible.
All indications are that the Cambodian government and the National Election Committee have no will to take any of the actions that Your Excellency urges them to carry out, in your statement of July 15:
§ Freedom of assembly is only guaranteed to major figures, while their supporters are frequently threatened as they attempt to attend rallies, or assaulted after they attend. Lower-ranking opposition activists dare not organize assemblies. The atmosphere for most Cambodians is still one of justified fear. We are aware of only one of our complaints to the National Election Committee and its subordinates, which has even been answered, let alone seriously pursued.
§ The National Election Committee has scrupulously avoided any specific commitments to effectively disseminate the message of the King on ballot secrecy, despite our suggestions. With our own very limited resources, we have committed to distributed this message as best we can.
§ The National Election Committee has taken no steps to rectify the gross imbalance in political coverage on the media, instead insisting against all evidence that it does not exist.
§ The integrity of the voting procedures has been compromised by National Election Committee rulings, while efforts to contest election commission decisions have been met by silence in nearly every case.
§ Election officials have been drawn from the ranks of ruling party loyalists at every level, and security forces are apparently being enlisted to displace legitimate observers. No one should forget that these are not government forces, they are the forces of the Cambodian People's Party. As we point out above, the scale of troop movements is becoming dangerously reminiscent of conditions immediately before the coup of July 5-6, 1997.
We urgently appeal to Your Excellency to take immediate steps to warn the present Cambodian government and the National Election Commission to rectify these problems before they conduct an election that may fail to be certified as fair by the international community.
President, Sam Rainsy Party
July 18, 1998
COMPLAINT TO THE NATIONAL ELECTION COMMITTEE
Subject: Second murder of SRP activist in Siem Reap province, with incitement to murder by CPP official and boasting about one murder by the same official and another official.
A second SRP organizer has been murdered in Siem Reap province this week. Touch Sarou, the SRP's chairman in Siem Reap reports:
Mrs. Lith Prath, 60, was shot dead with one shot as she lay sleeping in her house in Peak Sda village, Sanveuil commune, Chikreng district, Siem Reap province, at 10:30 pm on July 15. The killer's identity is unknown. The body was cremated after being checked by district police.
Lith Prath was an active SRP member who officially joined on July 7. She was very popular, had a soft character and no disputes with anyone. This can only be a political assassination. The murderer disappeared immediately, without stealing anything. Her SRP membership card is number 125496 and her voter card is number 80703099 S 0561 (they are available for inspection).
The murder of Lith Prath comes the day after Nhiek Vorn, another SRP activist, was killed by a single shot from under his house at 9:00 pm on Tuesday, July 14. The unknown murderer entered his property in Chih Kea village of Kean Sangkar commune, Soth Nikum district, Siem Reap.
Although in two different districts, the communes of the two victims are next to each other. The CPP head of Kean Sangkar commune, a man named Deur, is reported to have visited Chih Kea on June 18, saying, "One day, the CPP will shoot, for the people to see." This incitement violates Articles 71 and 124 of the Law on Elections.
Since the murder of Nhiek Vorn, CPP officials have visited his widow and tried to force her to put her thumbprint to a statement saying that SRP paid her 400,000 riel to say the murder of her husband was political. The SRP did give her the money (equal to $100) to help with the funeral.
Now, we have received a new report from the SRP office in Soth Nikum that on Friday, July 17, Deur, talking to Sun Soeum, the village chief of Chih Kea village, said that now that one member of SRP member is gone, we have to find the recruiters of this party [SRP] so we can do one or two more in order to make all them really scared of us. This conversation took place in the house of our witness, whose identity we will release only under the auspices of human rights officials.
We demand the NEC order the appropriate security forces to investigate these crimes, which violates the election law as well the criminal law, as the NEC is supposedly empowered to do by the Law on Elections (Article 29).
For more information, contact Touch Sarou (015-917-803) or Kuy Bunroeun (015-836-087) in Siem Reap, or Son Chhay (012-800-990) or Rich Garella (012-802-062) in Phnom Penh.
July 18, 1998
COMPLAINT TO THE NATIONAL ELECTION COMMITTEE
Threat against SRP candidate, apparently in response to a complaint by that candidate to the National Election Committee.
Description of event:
Lon Phon, the head candidate of SRP for Battambang province, reports that at 9:00 am on July 17, 1998, a group of unidentified men wearing bodyguard uniforms and armed with pistols walked up to a house next to his house. They asked the woman at that house where Lon Phon was, but she said she did not know. One of the men said, "If I find him [Lon Phon], I will shoot him to motherfuck [banh aouy choi mrai]". Then they left.
This incident occurred about two days after news appeared in Moneaksekar newspaper about a complaint that Lon Phon had filed to the National Election Committee against the Provincial Election Commission regarding its treatment of the case of the supposed explosives that were delivered to an SRP rally on June 30.
For more information, contact Lon Phon (015-832-443) or Rich Garella (012-802-062) in Phnom Penh.
Phnom Penh, July 19, 1998
ROVING RALLY IN PHNOM PENH DRAWS ABOUT TEN THOUSAND By SRP staff
A mobile convoy organized by the Sam Rainsy Party hit the streets of Phnom Penh on Sunday morning, while FUNCINPEC and the CPP held stationary rallies inside Olympic Stadium.
The SRP organizers projected about 5000 people would come-riding in 30 trucks, 50 cars, and driving 1000 motorbikes. Initially these goals were met and slightly surpassed, but as the convoy wound through the capital enthusiastic bystanders joined in until the parade's length approached two kilometers.
Party members and other observers gave varying estimates of the participants' strength, from 5000 to 20,000, but party officials settled on an estimate of 10,000. This show of numbers far surpassed previous SRP rallies in Phnom Penh, demonstrating increasing popularity of the party as the polling day approaches.
Even more telling was that the rally took place in a general climate of fear fed by rumors that there would be violence today. Almost every shop in and around Olympic Market, was closed while FUNCINPEC and the CPP held stationary rallies in the nearby stadium. But despite the rumors, no incidents were reported.
The rally was led by the SRP's candidates for Phnom Penh, with former National Bank vice-governor Tioulong Saumura topping the list. Party president Sam Rainsy was campaigning in Kompong Chhnang province to the north.
July 19, 1998
COMPLAINTS TO THE NATIONAL ELECTION COMMITTEE
1. Subject: Murder of Reth Savoeun, a Sam Rainsy Party recruiter in Battambang.
Description of event:
Duong Chheath, vice president of SRP in Battambang province reports that Mr. Suon Saroem, the chief of police of Chi Vaing commune (a CPP member) invited Mr. Reth Savoeun, an SRP recruiter, to go fishing with him on July 14 at 2:00 pm. Savoeun lived in Tonle Sap Kbal Taul village, Chi Vaing commune, Ek Phnom district of Battambang province.
At 5:00 pm Saroem returned, but Savoeun did not come back with him. On July 15 Savoen's wife was looking for him everywhere. She found his body inside a large bamboo fish trap (lorp) in the shallows waters of a swamp. There was a bullet hole through his head from one side to the other.
2. Subject: Illegal arrest and detention of missing SRP activist Sin Soth in Battambang.
On July 16, at 5:00 pm, Mr. Sin Soth, an SRP activist, was picked up supposedly for a meeting at military group 250 headquarters in Sampou Loun district of Battambang province, by military police commanded by a Mr. Puth, the chief of group 250. Then they arrested him in front of Guardhouse 32, and put him in a car to bring him to Military Region 5 headquarters. At Kilometer 9 the arresting officer, Mr. Sros, stopped at his house to get another gun and to change his clothes. There was a shot from an AK-47 and Soth escaped, along with a man named Rithy, of Pich Chenda commune district of Battambang, who made this report. As they escaped, they separated, and there were 4-5 more shots. We don't know what happened and there has been no news of Soth.
Soth is a popular person and an experienced local leader. We believe that Puth branded him as a Khmer Rouge because Soth had joined the SRP, and Puth wants to make it difficult for him to organize.
As usual, these complaints are being filed to the appropriate Provincial Election Commission.
In one week we have now filed complaints of three murders, with no response from the National Election Committee, while police and other officials who are members of the CPP have repeatedly claimed that the victims were CPP members, not SRP members. It is an insult to these people who gave their lives for their political beliefs to then take away the meaning of their death.
For more information, contact Lon Phon (015-832-443) in Battambang, or Rich Garella (012-802-062) in Phnom Penh.
Phnom Penh, July 19, 1998
MUST VIOLENCE DESTROY THE LAST HOPES?
There has been a dramatic rise in reports of murders and other violent acts by supporters of Hun Sen. In the past five days alone, there have been three murders and numerous assaults on our organizers.
The ruling party has adopted a repugnant new tactic to hide its crimes: it depicts the victims, who gave their lives in the struggle to bring peace to Cambodia, of having been supporters of the regime that killed them.
The members of the ruling party who commit these acts, and their leaders who protect them from punishment, are destroying the chance that this election could create a basis for stability, and are poisoning the atmosphere required for future cooperation.
The supposedly neutral National Election Committee, despite good intentions on the part of a few of its members, has done nothing to stop the violence. It is little more than a cover for the ruling party's effort to legitimize itself through a fraudulent election. Hun Sen and his supporters assume that the international community, which has never set criteria, will approve of the election results.
We have received little but empty promises and bullets.
Phnom Penh, July 20, 1998
CAMBODIAN OPPOSITION CANDIDATE ARRESTED
Her husband, an Interior Ministry commander and former member, held and beaten
The number eight candidate of the Sam Rainsy Party in Phnom Penh, Ms. Ly Rosamy, and her husband, Danh Teav, were kidnapped by security forces at 9:10 pm on Monday. Rosamy was released at 11pm, but Teav has been beaten severely and is still being held.
Rosamy is afraid for his safety because when he asked to see any documents supporting his arrest, after being handcuffed already, they punched him in the back of the head. One policeman tried to punch him in the face but Rosamy grabbed his arm and held it back before the two were put in the car. The chief of the criminal of the municipal police, Houn Sophan, was not available Tuesday morning, and his deputy Chea Nhil said that only the chief can let Rosamy see her husband.
Tuesday morning police told Rosamy that her husband was accused of being the leader of a hit squad that murdered Vinh Hong on February 21. They said there was no warrant. The SRP is now arranging for a lawyer in the case. Teav is held at Municipal Police headquarters in Phnom Penh, on Pasteur Street.
No one was allowed to see Teav, including a UN human rights official, until about 11am on Tuesday, when the police allowed Rosamy to bring him some food. She was only allowed to see him at a distance of six meters, through two sets of bars. He was lying down and did not respond when she called him. Another inmate said that he could not stand up. Finally, three other men picked him up and she saw a large purple bruise on his forehead and bruises on his chest. The only thing he said, in a weak voice, was that his back hurt and he needed medicine.
Teav is a commander in the Ministry of Interior's anti-terrorism department. He is a former FUNCINPEC member. In an incident that may be related, police went to the house of Sreng Sreang, a high-ranking Interior Ministry officer, on Monday night at about 8:30 and threatened him with AK-47s and a B-40 rocket launcher. His children were in the house at the time. Colonel Sreang is the deputy director of the prison department of Interior, and is an associate of Sin Sen, who recently and publicly threw his support to Rainsy.
Rosamy, 30, is a popular SRP leader especially among Cambodia's Muslim community, the Cham, and she is the president of the Muslim Women's Association. Rosamy believes the real target is not him, but her, but that it is easier to attack her husband than her because she is an official candidate of SRP.
Monday night was not the first time she has been harassed. On June 20, Rosamy was riding her motorbike to the SRP headquarters to report on registration in Phnom Penh the previous day, when a car ran into her and then drove away at high speed. She broke her leg in the crash. After 10 days in the hospital, she called a traditional healer (kru Khmer) to treat her, but he came only once, saying he had received threats and was told not to take care of her. After that incident, the district chief of the Chrang Chomreas II, and the deputy chief of police for the Russey Keo quarter frequently followed her and looked at her threateningly, but did not say anything to her.
For more information, please call Bak Long (855-12-844-320 or 215-375) for the latest information or Rich Garella (855-12-802-062).
Updated July 21, 1998
KEY ACTS OF VIOLENCE
AND THREATS AGAINST THE SAM RAINSY PARTY BEFORE THE ELECTIONS OF JULY 26, 1998
March 30 1997
NINETEEN DIE IN GRENADE ATTACK ON PEACEFUL PROTEST Phnom Penh - On Easter Sunday, Sam Rainsy led a group of supporters to protest against the ruling party's control of the justice system. Four high-powered grenades were thrown into the crowd, killing 19 people and injuring over one hundred. Rainsy was slightly injured, and a bodyguard who pushed him to the ground was killed. Police from Hun Sen's guard prevented bystanders from chasing the grenade-throwers, who ran toward Hun Sen's compound. Despite requests by the UN, the government has never investigated. The FBI report of its investigation has never been released.
May 15 1998
SRP CANDIDATE AND NATIONAL ASSEMBLY MEMBER GETS DEATH THREAT Phnom Penh - Chakraval, a newspaper close to the Cambodian People's Party, carried a story about unnamed people suggesting that Son Chhay be murdered. When Chhay protested publicly, he received a telephone death threat. He used the call-back feature of his telephone, and a Chakraval editor answered. The editor told Chhay that it was not his fault, as he was ordered to run the story by Om Yentieng, a top adviser to Hun Sen. Yentieng is now president of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee.
ONE-YEAR JAIL TERM FOR MAN WHO PUT SRP SIGN ON HIS HOUSE Kompong Cham province - Lim Pheng, 22, received a one-year jail term after a ten minute trial. Pheng's family had rented part of their house to the SRP as a party office. One day after Sam Rainsy formally opened the office, the sign was shot at. Police who came to investigate the shooting of the sign instead arrested Pheng for illegal possession of a weapon. Pheng was allowed no lawyer.
VOTER REGISTRATION OFFICIAL THREATENS SRP OBSERVERS WITH GUN Phnom Penh - Chan Roth Sopha and Som Tha, official SRP observers, arrived at a registration station in Phnom Penh to lodge an objection as per Item 9.3 of the NEC registration manual. They went in and told one election official of their intention. Instead of informing them of the procedure and supplying them with a copy of Form 1004, the official pulled his shirt up to reveal a pistol tucked into his pants. Chan Roth Sopha took out his camera and took a picture of the official with the pistol. The official grabbed the camera from him and pulled out the film.
BODY OF SRP ACTIVIST FOUND IN SHALLOW GRAVE Kompong Cham province - Em Eam, 62, had been missing since June 10, when he left his village to travel to the Tbong Khmum SRP office where he volunteered. His battered body was found in a rubber plantation. A second SRP activist in the same district, Pin Bunthoeun, hid from the killers for over a week before turning up alive at the party office.
"EXPLOSIVES" DELIVERED TO SRP RALLY
Battambang - Six parcels, wrapped like cakes, were thrown into a car and a tractor taking part in an SRP parade through Battambang. The packages were inspected by party officials and quickly removed from the scene, as everyone thought at first that they were explosives. Later it was determined that they contained fuses, but the message they carried was clear.
SRP OFFICIALS KIDNAPPED AND BEATEN
Phnom Penh - Hak Savuth and Mey Mon, SRP officials from Takeo province, were kidnapped in the early morning by the militia of "Village 15," a CPP-controlled squatter village across the street from SRP headquarters. They were beaten and robbed, and held until midday, when other SRP officials and a UN human rights worker secured their release and brought them to the hospital. The gang that runs Village 15 consistently terrorizes SRP supporters. In June alone, thugs from Village 15 attacked at least five SRP supporters. While negotiating the release of an SRP security guard kidnapped in May, one SRP official was told by the local bosses and militia members that they took orders only from Chea Sophara, the deputy governor of Phnom Penh, a top supporter of Hun Sen.
SRP OFFICIAL MURDERED
Takeo province - Hon Hay, 32, the vice president of the SRP of Taphem commune in Takeo province was shot. As he ran away, leaving his motorbike behind, the killers shot him again. He was not robbed.
INTERIOR MINISTRY ORDERS ARREST OF SENIOR SRP OFFICIAL Phnom Penh - A reliable source reported that, You Simleang, a two-star general of the Ministry of Interior, ordered police at Pochentong Airport to arrest Eng Chhay Eang, Chief of the Cabinet of the Sam Rainsy Party. The order appears to have been part of a plot to implicate Eang and the SRP in a seemingly non-political grenade attack at a park in Phnom Penh. The order was canceled the next day, but rumors of plans to arrest Eang persist.
PARTY ACTIVIST BEATEN UNCONSCIOUS AFTER RALLY Battambang province - Returning from a SRP rally in Battambang town to her home in Sdau, Neang Nal Siev, an party activist, was insulted and then beaten unconscious by a local CPP's cell leader named Thy. When she became conscious, she heard Thy calling his daughters to bring a knife and slit her throat. CPP cells are organized in a vast network covering the whole country. Each cell leader is responsible for ensuring by all means the loyalty of 20 to 30 families.
DEATH THREATS LEFT FOR TWO SRP ORGANIZERS Pursat province - Naom Dara, an SRP youth organizer in Kondieng district, found a note at his door reading, "Gang leader who raises membership for SRP, I shoot to kill." Activist Yin Kam Sann found a note reading, "Stop working for SRP or you'll die". Separately, a CPP village chief threatened to kill an SRP member, Mean Sarith, who filed a complaint against him.
SRP CANDIDATE'S CAR FIRED ON
Phnom Penh - Pol Sothea, 38, an SRP candidate for Takeo, was driving home from meeting with other party officials. Two men ambushed his car and fired six times with an AK-47. The car was hit twice, but Sothea escaped. Sothea had participated in SRP rallies all day during a campaign visit to Takeo province by Sam Rainsy.
SRP ACTIVIST MURDERED, WIDOW FORCED TO RENOUNCE SRP MEMBERSHIP Siem Reap province - Nhiek Vorn, an activist of SRP, was killed by a single shot in his house in Kieng Sangkaer commune, Soth Nikkum district. One month before, the CPP leader of Kien Sangkaer, named Deur, came to the village and asked about the SRP, saying, "One day, the CPP will shoot, for the people to see." After the murder of Nhiek Vorn, Deur and Sieng Nam, a CPP candidate visited his widow and forced her to put her thumbprint to a statement saying that SRP paid her 400,000 riel to say the murder was political . Actually, the SRP gave her the money (equal to $ 100) to help with the funeral. She has retracted her statement to the CPP.
SRP RECRUITER MURDERED ON FISHING TRIP WITH CPP CHIEF Battambang province - Reth Savoeun, an SRP recruiter in Chi Vaing commune, went on a fishing trip with the police chief of Chi Vaing commune, a CPP member named Suon Saroem. His wife found his body the next day in a large bamboo fish trap in a swamp. He had a bullet hole through his head.
SRP ACTIVIST MURDERED IN HER SLEEP
Siem Reap province - Mrs. Lith Prath, 60, was shot dead as she lay sleeping in her house in Chikreng district at 10:30 p.m. She was a popular party activist who officially joined the party only on July 7. As with most of the other murder victims, CPP officials later claimed that she was a CPP member, although her membership card is clear. They also claim that she was thought to be a witch, according to The Cambodia Daily.
PARTY ACTIVIST MISSING IN BATTAMBANG PROVINCE Battambang province - Sin Soth, a popular and experienced SRP activist, was picked up by military police, supposedly for a meeting at military group 250 headquarters in Sampeou Loun district. On the way he tried to escape. Several gunshots were heard but there has been no news of Sin Soth since.
MURDERS OF SRP OFFICIALS THREATENED IN SIEM REAP PROVINCE Siem Reap province - Mr. Deur, chief of CPP for Kien Sangkear commune, was witnessed talking to Sun Soeum, the village chief of Chih Kea village. He said that now that one member of SRP is gone, they will have to take care of one or two more SRP recruiters, in order to make all of them scared.
TOP SRP CANDIDATE GETS DEATH THREAT
Battambang province - A group of men wearing bodyguard uniforms and carrying pistols entered a house next to the house of Lon Phon, the SRP's lead candidate for Battambang, and asked a woman where he was. One of the men told her, "If I find him, I will shoot him to motherfuck." The incident occurred two days after the Moneaksekar Khmer daily reported that Lon Phon filed a complaint against the Provincial Election Commission regarding its treatment of the case of the supposed explosives that were delivered to the SRP rally on June 30.
These are some of the crimes committed as part of the campaign to prevent an opposition victory in the elections, which started in earnest on March 30, 1997. There are other cases that we cannot list here, in some cases because the victims or family members are too frightened to allow us to describe what happened to them.
Despite numerous complaints to local authorities and to the National Election Commission, the authorities have not credibly investigated any of them, and no one has been charged. The message is clear: The ruling party's thugs can threaten, assault and kill opposition supporters without fear of being punished.
Meanwhile the Cambodian People's Party has adopted a typically convoluted tactic to cover up its lengthy record of political murder: claiming that victims were actually CPP members. The Law on Political Parties is quite clear: Membership in political parties is voluntary and can be resigned at any time (Article 13), and only the latest membership in a political party can be valid (Article 15). Since 450,000 people have willingly joined the SRP since its founding on March 3, 1998, and the CPP claims 3.8 million members-many of whom were bribed or forced to join-it is not surprising that some SRP members are former CPP.
This is the situation in Cambodia before the election: a rising tide of violence in a climate of complete impunity.
LETTERS RECEIVED BY THE CABINET OF THE PRESIDENT [TRANSLATION BY SRP STAFF]
July 20, 1998
I, Sdech Krom Khun Norodom Chakrapong, would like to address His Excellency, beloved President of Sam Rainsy Party and beloved Member of the National United Front.
I received Your Excellency's letter dated June 27, 1998 concerning your position on peace, freedom and justice and your appeal to public figures who are patriotic and who love democracy to cooperate in order to solve all the national issues despite past differences.
I have the honor of informing Your Excellency that I profoundly thank Your Excellency, and I fully support the position of the Sam Rainsy Party in fighting for democracy, developing the country and serving our beloved people. I also believe that Your Excellency's party will strengthen the National United Front and scrupulously respect the Constitution of Cambodia.
I fervently wish that Your Excellency, party president, and the Sam Rainsy Party receives very strong support from the Cambodian people and achieves a victorious result in the coming election.
Please accept my warmest regards,
July 21, 1998
From Pen Sovann, the President of the Cambodian National Sustaining Party, to His Excellency Sam Rainsy, the President of Sam Rainsy Party
Subject: The position of the Cambodian National Sustaining Party
After the bloody events of July 5th and 6th of 1997, our society has met crisis after crisis, including an economic crisis, a crisis of conscience, a moral crisis, a social crisis, etc. Even though our beloved motherland has fallen to the lowest level, Your Excellency has continued tirelessly to fight against dictatorship and social injustice, and I myself value your patriotic effort highly. The "Cambodian problem" is a problem that faces politicians who have good faith toward our motherland, Cambodia. To solve this, we must all unite, reconcile with each other; then our people's wishes will be fulfilled.
Even though I am getting old, my patriotism and my love for our motherland is still very strong. I think that cooperation between our two parties from now on will certainly be received well by Cambodian and international opinion.
Please accept my deep sincerity,
[signed, Pen Sovann]
President, Cambodian National Sustaining Party
July 22, 1998
RESPONSE TO STATEMENTS OF HOK LUNDY
Hok Lundy claimed today that none of the pre-election violence has been political and that all of the cases documented by the opposition parties, by independent international human rights groups and even by the United Nations itself are unrelated to politics. In effect he calls the victims of these atrocities liars. The parents of murdered opposition activists are left without their children, the wives are left without husbands, the brothers are left without sisters-and according to Hok Lundy, all are liars.
His statements are outrageous and despicable. However, they are not surprising, coming as they do from a hand-picked member of the committee put together by the present Cambodian regime supposedly to watch over the political parties' safety during the electoral process. Moreover, they come from a man who has become one of the most feared in Cambodia, with a reputation for brutality that few can match. The appointment of such a person to a committee to protect political freedom is in itself a clear threat to those who would exercise that freedom.
Meanwhile, there is no untainted legal body that the opposition parties can turn to. The CPP controls the local officials, the police, the security forces, the judges, and the election commissions. They attack us at will, they hold our members as political prisoners, they have no fear of prosecution because they are the prosecutors. Their only limit is the degree to which the international community will accept their behavior.
Lundy's statements are a disgusting display of brazen contempt for the Cambodian people who have dedicated their lives to freedom, and in too many cases given their lives for it. More than that they can only be intended to send opposition supporters a threatening message: "You can give your life for your beliefs and we will erase even the memory of your sacrifice."
We can only hope that these comments meet with the scorn that they deserve.
CAMPAGNE DE TERREUR
PRINCIPAUX ACTES D'INTIMIDATION ET DE VIOLENCE CONTRE LE PARTI DE SAM RAINSY
AVANT LES ELECTIONS DU 26 JUILLET 1998
(Mise à jour du 22 Juillet 1998)
30 Mars 1997 : 19 MORTS DANS UN ATTENTAT A LA GRENADE CONTRE UNE MANIFESTATION PACIFIQUE
Phnom Penh - Sam Rainsy conduit ce dimanche de Pâques un groupe de manifestants protestant contre le contrôle absolu exercé par le parti au pouvoir sur l'appareil judiciaire. Quatre grenades de forte puissance sont lancées dans la foule, tuant plus de 19 personnes et en blessant plus de 100 autres. Des gardes du corps de Hun Sèn empêchent plusieurs témoins de poursuivre les lanceurs de grenades, lesquelles prennent la fuite en direction d'un bâtiment officiel. En dépit des demandes répétées formulées par les Nations Unies, le gouvernement n'a jamais engagé d'enquête sérieuse sur cet attentat. Le FBI a conduit sa propre enquête, mais n'a toujours pas rendu publiques de conclusions officielles.
15 Mai 1998 : SON CHHAY, DEPUTÉ SORTANT, CANDIDAT DU PSR EST MENACÉ DE MORT Phnom Penh - Chakraval, un journal proche du Parti du Peuple Cambodgien, au pouvoir, publie un article citant, sous couvert de l'anonymat, une personne recommandant l'asassinat de Son Chhay. A la suite de la plainte qu'il dépose et qu'il rend publique, Son Chhay reçoît une menace de mort par téléphone. Usant de la possibilité offerte par son téléphone portable de rappeler son dernier correspondant, Son Chhay aboutit sur le rédacteur-en-chef de Chakraval qui, confus, affirme avoir publié l'article incriminé sur instruction de Om Yentieng, haut conseiller de Hun Sèn, et par ailleurs Président du Comité Cambodgien des Droits de l'Homme.
8 Juin : UN MILITANT CONDAMNÉ A UN AN DE PRISON Kompong Cham - Au terme d'un procès qui dure dix minutes, Lim Pheng, 22 ans, est condamné à un an de prison. La famille du condamné a loué une partie de sa maison au PSR, qui y a installé un bureau local. Le lendemain de son inauguration officielle par Sam Rainsy, l'enseigne du parti apposée sur la maison essuie des coups de feu. Appelée sur les lieux, la police, au lieu d'enquêter sur l'incident, procède à l'arrestation de Pheng sous l'accusation fallacieuse de détention illégale d'arme à feu. Au cours de son procès, Pheng n'est pas autorisé à recevoir l'assistance d'un avocat.
8 Juin : DES AGENTS D'UN BUREAU D'ENREGISTREMENT SUR LES LISTES ELECTORALES MENACENT UN OBSERVATEUR DU PSR AVEC UNE ARME Phnom Penh - Chan Roth Sopha, et Som Tha, observateurs officiels du PSR, se présentent dans un bureau d'enregistrement sur les listes électorales, afin d'y poser réclamation conformément à l'article 9.3 du manuel d'enregistrement du Comité Electoral National (CEN). Ils s'adressent à un des agents attachés à ce bureau et lui exposent le motif de leur visite. Au lieu de le leur expliquer la procédure à suivre, et de leur fournir le formulaire 1004 prévu à cet effet, l'agent soulève un pan de sa chemise pour leur montrer le révolver attaché à sa ceinture. Chan Roth Sopha tente alors de photographier l'agent et son révolver. L'agent du bureau d'enregistrement se saisit de l'appareil photographique et en extrait immédiatement la pellicule.
17 Juin : LE CORPS D'UN MILITANT DU PSR RETROUVÉ DANS UNE PLANTATION D'HÉVÉA Province de Kompong Cham - Le corps de Em Eam, 62 ans, porté disparu depuis le 10 Juin, alors qu'ils se rendait de son village au bureau du PSR situé à Tbong Khmum, est retrouvé dans une plantation d'hévéa. Un second militant du PSR dans ce district, Pin Bunthoeun, également porté disparu depuis une semaine, réapparaît finalement en expliquant qu'il a dû se cacher quelques temps de peur d'être tué.
30 Juin : MENACES CONTRE UN DEFILÉ DU PSR Battambang - Six paquets, ressemblant à des gâteaux enveloppés, sont jetés dans une voiture et sur un tracteur qui s'apprêtent à prendre part à un défilé motorisé a travers Battambang. Les paquets suspects sont inspectés par des militants du PSR qui croient y découvrir des explosifs. Il ne s'agit finalement que d'inoffensives fusés, à titre, sans doute, d'avertissement.
5 Juillet : DES RESPONSABLES DU PSR ENLEVÉS ET BATTUS Phnom Penh - Hak Savuth and Mey Mon, responsables du PSR pour la province de Takéo sont enlevés, à l'aube, par la "milice" du Village nº 15, un ensemble de squatts situés juste en face du siège national du parti. Ils sont battus et volés, puis libérés au début de l'après-midi, sur intervention de responsables du PSR et de fonctionnaires de l'ONU chargés de la protection des droits de l'homme qui les conduisent ensuite à l'hôpital. Le véritable gang qui administre le Village nº 15 s'attache à terroriser les supporters qui se rendent au siège national du PSR. Rien qu'en Juin, les gros bras du Village nº 15 s'en sont pris à au moins cinq supporters du PSR. En Mai, un responsable du PSR intervient auprès de la milice du Village nº15 pour obtenir la libération d'un agent de sécurité du parti qui a été enlevé. Un milicien lui répond qu'il n'obéit qu'aux seuls ordres de Chea Sophara, vice-gouverneur de Phnom Penh, et proche de Hun Sèn.
7 Juillet : UN RESPONSABLE DU PSR ASSASSINÉ Province de Takéo - Hon Hay, 32 ans, vice-président du PSR pour la commune de Taphem essuie un coup de feu. Alors qu'il tente de s'enfuir, ses assaillants lui tirent à nouveau dessus, le tuant, avant de disparaître sans lui avoir rien dérobé.
7 Juillet : UN RESPONSABLE PROVINCIAL DU PSR MENACE DE MORT Province de Pursat - Mean Sarith, vice-président du PSR pour la province reçoit verbalement des menaces de mort.
7 Juillet : ORDRE D'ARRESTATION ÉMISE PAR LE MINISTÈRE DE L'INTERIEUR VISANT LE CHEF DE CABINET DE SAM RAINSY
Phnom Penh - De source sûre, le Général You Simleang, du ministère de l'intérieur, a ordonné à la police de l'aéroport de Pochentong de procéder à l'arrestation de Eng Chhay Eang, Chef du Cabinet de Sam Rainsy. Cela vise, semble-t-il, à impliquer Eang et le PSR dans un attentat commis il y peu contre un parc d'attraction de Phnom Penh. L'ordre a été annulé le lendemain, mais des rumeurs ont continué de circuler sur un projet d'arrestation ou d'assassinat de Eng Chhay Eang.
9 Juillet : DETENTION ILLÉGALE D'UN MILITANT ET MENACES DE MORT CONTRE UN CANDIDAT DU PSR
Province de Pursat - Dans la commune de Knay Romeas, district de Bakan, Sok Sann est enlevé au cours de la nuit. Il sera détenu illégalement deux jours et deux nuits, jusqu'à ce que des responsables du PSR obtiennent finalement sa libération. Par ailleurs, un candidat PSR de la province, nommé Yin Kimsan, reçoit une lettre contenant des menaces de mort.
10 Juillet : UN MILITANT DU PSR BATTU
Province de Battambang - De retour dans son village de Sdau, après avoir pris part à un meeting électoral tenu par le PSR à Battambang, Neang Nal Siev, militante du parti, est insultée et battue par un chef de cellule du PPC nommé Thy. Elle perd connaissance. Lorsqu'elle revient à elle, elle entend Thy demander à ses filles de lui apporter un couteau afin de lui trancher la gorge. Dans tout le pays, le PPC quadrille la population à travers un réseau de cellules regroupant 20 à 30 familles. Chaque chef de cellule du PPC est chargé de s'assurer par tous les moyens de la loyauté des familles enrôlées.
10 Juillet : MENACES DE MORT CONTRE DES RESPONSABLES DU PSR Province de Pursat - Naom Dara, responsable du mouvement des Jeunes du PSR pour le district de Kondieng, trouve sur sa porte une feuille de papier qui menace : "Je vais tuer les chefs de bandes du PSR qui recrutent des membres". Par ailleurs, un chef de village menace de tuer un membre du PSR nommé Mean Sarith, lequel a porté plainte.
11 JUILLET : MENACES DE MORT CONTRE UN MILITANT DU PSR Province de Pursat - Pol Saroeun, militant PSR du district de Krakor, reçoit plusieurs menaces de morts successives.
13 Juillet : UN CANDIDAT DE LA CIRCONSCRIPTION DE TAKEO TOMBE DANS UNE EMBUSCADE
Phnom Penh - En fin de soirée, Pol Sothea, 38 ans, candidat du PSR dans la province de Takéo, tombe dans une véritable ambuscade tendue par deux hommes armés de fusils d'assaut AK-47 dans une artère de la capitale. L'incident se produit alors qu'il rentre en voiture à son domicile, après un dîner de travail avec d'autres militants du parti. Il essuie au total six coups de feu. Toute la journée Pol Sothea avait pris une part active aux meetings présidés par Sam Rainsy à travers la province de Takéo.
14 Juillet : UN MILITANT DU PSR ASSASSINÉ Province de Siemreap - Nhiek Vorn, militant du PSR, est tué d'un coup de feu dans sa maison, dans la commune de Kien Sangkaer, district de Saut Nikkum. Un mois plus tôt, un dénommé Deur, chef du PPC pour le district de Kieng Sangkaer, est venu dans la commune, cherchant des militants du PSR, tout en annonçant : "Un jour, le PPC va en tuer, pour l'exemple". Après le meurtre de Nhiek Vorn, Deur et un candidat du PPC rendent visite à sa veuve et la forcent à apposer ses empreintes digitales sur une déclaration affirmant que le PSR l'a payée 400.000 riels pour prétendre qu'il s'agit d'un assassinat politique. Le PSR lui a effectivement donné cette somme, mais comme contribution à l'organisation des funérailles. Ce qu'elle confirme ultérieurement.
14 Juillet : UN MILITANT DU PSR ASSASSINÉ APRES UNE PARTIE DE PÊCHE Province de Battambang - Reth Savoeun, un militant chargé du recrutement de nouveaux membres, se rend à une partie de pêche à laquelle l'a convié un membre du PPC nommé Suon Saroeum, chef de la police de la commune de Chi Vaing. La femme de Reth Savoeun retrouve le lendemain son corps de son mari dans une nasse à poissons en bambou déposée dans une mare. Le crâne de la victime, qui a tuée par balle, est transpersé de part en part.
15 Juillet : UNE MILITANTE AGÉE DU PSR ASSASSINÉE DURANT SON SOMMEIL Province de Siemreap - Lith Pran, âgée de 60 ans, est tuée d'un coup de feu tiré a bout portant à 22h.30 alors qu'elle dort dans sa maison, dans le district de Chikreng. C'était une militante très populaire qui n'avait officiellement rejoint le PSR que le 7 juillet dernier. Comme dans d'autres cas récents d'assassinats de militants du PSR, le PPC prétend que la victime est en fait un membre du PPC. Selon le Cambodian Daily, la victime a également été accusée d'être une sorcière.
16 juillet : UN MILITANT DU PSR PORTÉ DISPARU Province de Battambang - Un gendarme passe prendre Sin Soth à son domicile, prétendument pour le conduire au quartier général du Groupe Militaire 250 où il serait convoqué. Sin Soth est un militant actif et populaire du PSR, un témoin l'a vu tenter de s'enfuir en chemin. Peu après, il a entendu plusieurs de coup de feu. Personne, depuis lors, n'a revu Sin Soth.
17 Juillet : MENACES DE MORTS CONTRE DES MILITANTS DU PSR Province de Siemreap - Deur, le chef du PPC pour la commune de Kien Sangkaer, déjà cité, déclare à son homologue du village de Chih Kea, qu'avec un militant du PSR déja hors de circuit, il leur reste à s'occuper d'un ou deux autres pour que tous les membres du PSR soient complètement effrayés. La conversation nous est rapportée par un témoin direct.
18 Juillet : UN CANDIDAT TÊTE DE LISTE DU PSR MENACÉ DE MORT Battambang - Un groupe d'hommes, en uniformes de garde du corps, pénètrent chez une voisine de Lon Phon, candidat tête de liste du PSR, en lui demandant où se trouve celui-ci. Comme elle répond qu'elle n'en sait rien, l'un des hommes s'écrie "Si je le trouve, cet enculé de sa mère, je le tue". L'incident intervient alors que, deux jours auparavant, le quotidien Moneaksekar Khmer a rapporté que Lon Phon a porté plainte contre la Commission Electorale Provinciale en raison de l'absence de suite donnée à l'affaire des pseudo explosifs jetés dans des véhicules à Battambang le 30 juin.
18 Juillet : ASSASSINAT D'UN MEMBRE DU PSR Province de Pursat - Invité à la chasse dans la soirée par le chef-adjoint du village de Ra Thmei, appartenant au PPC et dénommé Keurn, Ben Yeurn, 33 ans, militant du PSR est retrouvé mort à quatre kilomètres de chez lui
20 Juillet : UNE CANDIDATE DU PSR ARRETEE AVEC SON MARI Phnom Penh - Ly Rosamy, candidate du PSR à Phnom Penh, et présidente de l'Association des Femmes Musulmanes du Cambodge, est arrêtée vers 21 heures avec son mari. Elle est libérée vers 23 heures mais son mari est accusé de meurtre et maintenu en détention. Lorsqu'elle est autorisée à le revoir, le lendemain vers 11 heures, elle constate qu'ayant été sévèrement battu, il ne peut se tenir debout.
Il s'agit là d'une partie des actes d'intimidation et de violence commis dans le cadre de la campagne de terreur menée pour tenter d'empêcher une victoire de l'opposition à l'issue des prochaines élections. Les autorités compétentes n'ont mené aucune enquête sérieuse sur ces actes. La liste ci-dessus n'est pas exhaustive car dans certains cas, nous ne pouvons rendre publique aucune information, les familles nous demandant d'observer la plus grande discrétion, de crainte de représailles.
Le message est clair : les hommes du pouvoir en place peuvent menacer, attaquer, et tuer les supporters de l'opposition sans crainte d'être poursuivis.
Depuis quelques jours, le PPC a adopté une nouvelle tactique toute à la fois cynique et odieuse consistant a prétendre que les partisans du PSR assassinés sont, en réalité, des membres du PPC. La loi sur les partis plitique est claire : chacun peut à tout moment adhérer ou démissioner d'un parti politique (article 13), et seule la plus récente adhésion peut validement être considérée (article 15). Le PPC prétend avoir encarté 3,8 millions de personnes, sans préciser qu'il l'a souvent fait de force, ou bien en achetant leur adhésion. Il n'est donc pas étonnant que certains des membres du PSR aient à un moment ou un autre adhéré au PPC.
Telle est la situation au Cambodge à la veille des élections : le climat de violence s'aggrave de jour en jour, et ceci dans la plus totale impunité.
Phnom Penh, July 23, 1998
"THIS IS A DAY TO BREAK HUN SEN'S HEART" Rallies in Kompong Cham and Phnom Penh close out triumphant Rainsy campaign
By SRP staff
Sam Rainsy's morning rally in Kompong Cham attracted a crowd estimated at 25-35,000. Rainsy is the SRP's lead candidate in Kompong Cham, Cambodia's most populous province with 18 seats and a political stronghold of the CPP's Hun Sen.
"This is a day to break Hun Sen's heart," said an exultant Mao Mony, another SRP candidate in Kompong Cham, by telephone from amid the crowd.
From Kompong Cham, Rainsy went south to Phnom Penh to join the final mass
rally of the campaign, in front of the National Assembly. Thousands of cheering factory workers started to assemble before noon at Wat Botum, across the park from the Assembly and joined thousands of other supporters in a massive motorized parade around the capital, ending back in the park on the site of the grenade attack of March 30, 1997. By the time Rainsy arrived, at 3:30 pm, the crowd numbered 10-15,000. Former National Bank vice-governor Tioulong Saumura, who is the lead candidate in Phnom Penh, Assembly member Son Chhay, who leads Siem Reap province, and others including SRP candidate Ly Rosamy, whose husband remains jailed after both were arrested Monday, were already on stage. Rainsy was showered with flower petals as supporters carried him through the crowd on their shoulders to the stage, where he gave a rousing 15-minute speech, pointing in particular to the grenade attack. "They have done their worst to us. On this very spot nineteen Cambodians, nineteen innocent Cambodians died last year for the freedom of our country, and we will never forget them. We will not be intimidated because our freedom is worth too much to us.
"There is a wind sweeping out the dictators all over the world-it is the wind of liberty," he said in English.
"We invite the world to help us in our struggle for freedom….We are willing to live for freedom, and we are willing to die for it."
Rainsy then led a convoy including 169 trucks jam-packed with cheering supporters, dozens of cars and hundreds of motorbikes south to the nearby town of Takhmau, capital of Kandal province, where at one point the multi-kilometer motorcade looped the entire provincial capital, where Hun Sen maintains his "Tiger's Lair" residence.
An informal daily Q&A session has been scheduled at the SRP Cabinet office, 12 Street 240, at 1:30 in the afternoon. Sam Rainsy will take questions when possible. Please call Rich Garella on 012-802-062 for more information. Rainsy will go to Kompong Cham town late Saturday afternoon July 27 in order to cast his ballot as soon as the polls open on Sunday morning. He plans to arrive at Teak Sen primary school at 6:00 am, vote early, and stay in Kompong Cham all day on Sunday, visiting polling stations as an unofficial observer. To contact him there, please call 015-978-979 or 015-832-840.
Saumura will vote in Phnom Penh and tour polling stations here. Please call Rich Garella on 012-802-062 to arrange interviews with her, Son Chhay, or other party officials. Releases, schedules and background press packets are also available at the Cabinet office, 12 Street 240.
July 25, 1998
Dear Ms. Kinnock,
Further to our conversation of July 24, we would like to clarify our thoughts about the role of the European Union, and by extension the Joint International Observer Group, in the Cambodian elections.
We do not know whether, by shifting to use of the term "broadly representative" in its statement of July 23, the Joint International Observer Group has signaled a reduction in the standards it will apply to the Cambodian elections. However, we are relieved to see that the JIOG recognizes that killings have taken place in a climate of impunity, that there have been numerous cases of intimidation, and that access to the media has been unequal.
Although the climate for the elections has been irreparably damaged, we believe it is not too late for the international community to substantially increase the effectiveness of its efforts to improve conditions on and after polling day.
We urge the European Union and the JIOG to set benchmarks and require the Cambodian government to fulfill them immediately or face delayed certification process for the elections.
The benchmarks we suggest are designed to decrease the effectiveness of several strategies that the ruling party is using or may use to unfairly influence the outcome of the elections.
1. Reliable Observation: The National Election Committee should order, not ask, that every polling place have full-time coverage by legitimate observers from COFFEL, COMFREL or NICFEC. It should be specified that JIOG will solicit reports directly from those organizations to verify compliance.
2. Accountability: The government of Cambodia should commit itself now to cooperate fully with an extensive post-electoral investigation into election violence, fraud, intimidation etc. It should be specified that there will be no certification until this investigation is complete, and that the results of the investigation will be made fully public before any certification.
3. Initiative to End Impunity: The government of Cambodia should take immediate action in the cases of threats, violence, and murders, especially in the many cases where there is already substantial evidence logged with human rights organizations against particular individuals. For example, arrests should be made in accordance with internationally accepted law enforcement procedures; those arrested should be put in custody under international observation.
4. Commitment to Non-violence and Legal Transparency: The government of Cambodia should make a clear commitment that it will neither take military action nor engage in legal maneuvers designed to prevent or disqualify election results. It should be specified that if there is any such action, the resulting government will not be recognized until the relevant international bodies are satisfied that they are legal.
President, Sam Rainsy Party
July 25, 1998
GRENADE THROWN INTO SRP OFFICIAL'S HOUSE IN KOH KONG A second activist terrorized in his home By SRP staff
On Saturday, July 25, at 3:00 am a grenade was thrown into the house of Mr. Heng Vandy, the vice president of the Koh Kong SRP in Bak Klang commune, Mondul Seima district.
The grenade exploded and caused extensive damage to the house. Vandy was sleeping the house but was not injured. Vandy reported that he has not been attacked or threatened before.
In the same commune last night, a marine policeman who is an SRP member reported that some district police burst into his house to threaten him. He said he has spoken on the radio in support of the SRP, and believes the incident was because of his SRP-related activities.
The attacks came less than 12 hours after the UN-coordinated Joint International Observer Group stated that it "feels justified in anticipating that reasonable conditions exist for an election on Sunday 26 July that can be broadly representative of the will of the Cambodian people."
Koh Kong is a thinly populated southwestern province with one seat in the National Assembly. Its capital and western side has poor transportation links to the rest of Cambodia, but is a main center for legal and illegal trade, especially with Thailand.
For information please call Kung Heng (855-35-936-195) or Huy Sareth (855-15-833-988) in Koh Kong, or Rich Garella (855-12-802-602).
July 25, 1998
ELECTION CLIMATE: MURDER WITH TOTAL IMPUNITY
Two SRP members shot dead in Stung Treng At 9pm on July 24, in Sesan district of Stung Treng province, Muong Sophal, 35, was found dead in a hut in the rice field and Van Set, 20, was found dead next to the hut. Both had been shot. Both were SRP members. Police have been notified but have not made a report. (Reported by So Ofi, president of SRP Sesan district)
Cabinet official, volunteers threatened in Phnom Penh One volunteer and one official of Sam Rainsy's Cabinet office in Phnom Penh were followed as they drove in a car from Monivong and Sihanouk Blvds toward Olympic Market and on toward the Thai Embassy by a uniformed heavy-set man on a motorbike who had handcuffs on his belt. He displayed a K-59 pistol. The incident occurred at 9:45-10:00 pm on Friday July 24. Another volunteer was coming back to the Cabinet office around noon on Saturday July 25. She was riding a motorbike taxi which was waiting at her house, when she noticed the driver was checking something in his pocket. His cap fell off and as he bent over she saw the gun. She asked him to stop, but he refused and kept going until she convinced him to stop at her friend's house. He waited outside for about an hour.
Man stabbed after attending SRP rally in Kandal Yorn Yeurn, 23, of Kleang Meun Khang Cheung village, Prek Ampil commune went to an SRP rally in Svay Chhrum, Kandal on July 18. When he returned to his house, a group of people led by Loch Nim, known as a CPP man from the next village, came and checked if he was Yorn Yeurn. Then they started shooting him with a sling shot. Yeurn tried to fight back, but they surrounded and held him while Loch Nim stabbed him deeply in the side. He was brought to a hospital in Phnom Penh.
We note that the JIOG statement of July 24 claims that no serious incidents have taken place during public political rallies. We would like to point out two things. First, opposition parties have been forced to abandon having even small rallies because of threats of the violence that would happen in the absence of journalists and international observers that follow the main candidates. Second, people have been attacked both before and after such events.
To date there has not been a single serious investigation by the authorities of any case of violence we have noted. Not one person has been arrested for these acts, not one person has been punished. Officials selected by the ruling party have denied every case of election violence. There is no possible conclusion other than that killers of opposition supporters are enjoying total impunity, openly sanctioned by the government.
For more information call Bak Long on 855-12-844-320 or Rich Garella on 855-12-802-062.
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