Gov’t Finally Appoints Officials to Union Slaying Investigation

Nearly three months after the formation of a new committee to reinvestigate the assassinations of Free Trade Union (FTU) leaders Chea Vichea, Hy Vuthy and Ros Sovannareth, its members were appointed last week, according to a decree obtained Monday.

The deaths of the three unionists, who were all shot by assassins on motorcycles in Phnom Penh between 2004 and 2007, have already been prosecuted in court. However, human rights groups have criticized the government’s handling of all three cases, insisting that scapegoats were arrested and tried for the murders.

On June 25, the government announced the creation of a committee to reinvestigate the assassinations, and a prime ministerial decree signed September 15 appointed Interior Ministry Secretary of State Em Sam An as its chairman.

Labor Ministry Secretary of State Mom Vannak and Justice Ministry Secretary of State Ngor Sovann were named deputy chairs. National Police chief Neth Savoeun, National Military Police Commander Sao Sokha and Phnom Penh municipal governor Pa Socheatvong are members.

National Military Police spokesman Eng Hy said he did not know how the slayings—the earliest of which occurred more than a decade ago—would be investigated. “Wait until later, because we have just received this,” he said.

Justice Ministry spokesman Chin Malin said he believed the committee would work to build on information that was previously unreleased by the government.

“We have investigated these cases, but there is some information we could not release publicly, and there were complications in those cases, so we did not end them,” he said. “These cases are still in the procedural processes.”

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