F’pec, Rainsy Link Pardons, Government

A Funcinpec and Sam Rainsy Party statement obtained Wed­nesday implied amnesties must be given to party supporters convicted in “political” cases before an effective coalition government can be formed with their rival, the CPP.

The eight-page release stated that “the issue of amnesty” must be addressed if a coalition government able to effectively address the country’s problems is to be set up, though it did not specifically call for the pardons of top Funcinpec generals such as Nhiek Bun Chhay and Serey Ko­sal.

Funcinpec Secretary-General Tol Lah said the opposition hopes the wide-ranging outline can help jump-start stalled negotiations, although no agreement to meet the CPP had been struck by Wednesday evening.

“We are looking for each other to find a way out,” Tol Lah said.

So far, three working group sessions and one high-level summit between the CPP, Sam Rain­sy Party and Funcinpec have failed to form a coalition government and end deadlock that started with the July 26 election.

The Wednesday statement blamed a “lack of trust” for the more than three-month political deadlock since July elections.

“No one can envision a situation in which a party allows its loyal generals and other politicians be labeled as criminals while it enters into a partnership with the party which condemns them. Giving amnesty is a necessary gesture for building trust and confidence among the government partners,” the statement read.

Funcinpec generals Nhiek Bun Chhay and Serey Kosal, who are commanding bands of resistance troops at the border, were controversially convicted in absentia earlier this year of threatening national stability in mid-1997.

The statement warned against forming a doomed coalition government, advising that forces loyal to Funcinpec’s president, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, be reintegrated.

“Without reintegration, the formation of the coalition government cannot be successful,” the statement said.

CPP has not been receptive to previous suggestions by the opposition that the issue of amnesties be discussed, citing its respect for the courts.

The Wednesday statement played heavily on factionalism in civilian administration and military institutions and called on various levels for “a partnership between parties.”

It recommended the formation of various “independent” bodies to carry out such tasks as judicial reform, investigating alleged human rights abuses and busting corruption.

It also calls for a general accounting office to track the spending of public money.

The statement comes nearly two weeks after Second Prime Minister Hun Sen in an Oct 22 speech laid out a seven-point plan to for heightened security and reform measures designed to restore in international aid and recognition lost when last July’s factional fighting brought down the coalition government.

While the aim of both plans are similar, the opposition statement points out that political will is needed to carry out the proposals.

While the CPP has publicly pushed for a summit of Funcinpec and CPP leaders in Phnom Penh, Tol Lah on Wednesday reiterated his party’s wish for a three-way working group.



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