A group of mostly Cambodian expatriates held the first meeting of the Cambodian National Constitution Congress (CNCC) via Skype on Friday, with plans to eventually create a government-in-exile, according to Sam Serey, president of the Khmer National Liberation Front (KNLF).
Some 30 delegates approved a draft set of procedural rules for the CNCC and elected a number of people to leadership and administrative positions—mostly KNLF members, according to Mr. Serey, who said he hoped the government-in-exile would be formed next year.
“The government in exile will suggest to the signatories countries and the UN to take actions to ensure the full and final implementation of Paris Peace Agreement 1991 and seek the justice for Cambodians who have been killed since 1975 until the present,” he said via email.
Mr. Serey said the new congress elected New Zealand national and KNLF member Krech Siphan as its chairman.
The meeting comes as 23 alleged KNLF members, including Mr. Serey, have been either convicted or charged with planning to topple the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Among the group, seven were imprisoned for five to seven years in April after being convicted of plotting to provide a foreign nation with the means to carry out hostile acts against the Cambodian government. Ten more are being held in provisional detention after being arrested in October.
Mr. Serey, who is among those convicted in absentia and lives in Denmark, insists the group is only working to peacefully spread the word about how the CPP government is controlled by Vietnam and destroying the country.
Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said Sunday that the CNCC—like the KNLF—would be treated by the Cambodian government as a terrorist organization.
“These people, we don’t consider them to be a government-in-exile. These people will be considered as part of a terrorist group,” he said.
“If we have enough evidence that they are related to an illegal organization, we will send them to court for that.”