CPP Honorary President and National Assembly First Vice President Heng Samrin has blasted a new lawsuit filed in the US by opposition leader Sam Rainsy against Prime Minister Hun Sen over the 1997 grenade attack.
Noting that Cambodia’s Supreme Court had already dismis-sed the opposition leader’s allegations against Hun Sen, Heng Samrin said on Monday that he did not think the proceedings against Hun Sen would damage Cambodia’s international image.
“It is unreasonable for the opposition group to go and file a lawsuit like this,” Heng Samrin said. “[Sam Rainsy] won’t damage Cambodia’s reputation: They don’t believe it.”
Heng Samrin also said it was possible that Sam Rainsy planned the 1997 attack on the peaceful protest he was leading in order to blame the CPP.
Last week, during Hun Sen’s trip to New York, Sam Rainsy, US national Ron Abney and others injured in the attack filed the lawsuit against the premier in the US Court for the Southern District of New York, Sam Rainsy said Sunday.
The lawsuit is based on the Torture Victims Protection Act, which allows international victims of torture to sue in a US court those who they believe tortured them.
Sam Rainsy Party spokesman Ung Bun-Ang defended his party leader’s decision.
“You can call it escalation if you decide to, but the fact of the matter is that the Cambodian court failed to deliver justice,” he said of the Supreme Court ruling. “It is a necessity to bring the case to the US.”
Sok Sam Oeun, executive director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, said the lawsuit between the CPP and the opposition is not good for Cambodia.
“This is just getting bigger and bigger and they make no attempt to find a resolution,” he said.
Currently, the prime minister is suing the opposition leader for defamation over Sam Rainsy’s allegation over the 1997 attack.
Hun Sen’s bodyguard chief Hing Bun Heang is also suing the opposition leader’s wife and party secretary-general, alleging defamation connected to the grenade attack.
Asked if a lawsuit against Hun Sen could affect US-Cambodian relations, US Embassy spokesman John Daigle said the Embassy had no comment on the lawsuit because it is a private case.