Prime Minister Hun Sen met with former Khmer Rouge commanders in Battambang province on Friday and called them victims of complex political situations.
Speaking at the opening of a new temple—one of the province’s century-old pagodas, Hun Sen said that former Khmer Rouge commanders Y Chhean of Pailin and Eam Pham of Samlot were swept up in the complex political situation which was likely started by “old politicians,” according to an address broadcast on Apsara Radio Friday.
“We are all victims, so nobody was a winner or loser,” Hun Sen said. “War in Cambodia is different from other countries because when we have war, we destroyed schools, pagodas, railways and bridges—in other countries they never do that.”
He praised the ruling CPP for bringing an end to the Khmer Rouge regime as well, saying that, “If we would leave the Pol Pot regime in power until 1985, how many more Cambodians would have died? This is the truth we need to recognize.”
More than 1 million people died of starvation, overwork, disease and killings under the Khmer Rouge regime, which ruled the country from 1975 to 1979.
Hun Sen added that under the leadership of the CPP, the former Khmer Rouge forces operating along Cambodia’s border agreed to lay down their arms five years ago.
Meanwhile, Prince Norodom Chakrapong criticized Hun Sen at a news conference on Friday, saying that the premier should not have come out so strongly against King Norodom Sihanouk, and may have acted unconstitutionally.
“If a country has a prime minister and a king who are not getting along, it shows foreign investors that they may not want to come.
The tussle between the King and Hun Sen started on April 21 when the premier asked for the address of Ruom Ritt, the pen pal of King Norodom Sihanouk who is actually rumored to be the King. Hun Sen said he wanted “justice from Ruom Ritt, who has criticized the government repeatedly for several years.