July ’97 Victims Remembered Remembered

The first anniversary of last July’s factional fighting was marked Sunday by a me­morial march through the capital organized by Son Sann Party supporters.

The marchers circled Indepen­dence Monument as monks offered prayers to those who died in street battles between rival troop factions one year ago this weekend. The government has not released an official death toll but some diplomats and military analysts speculate that more than one hundred were killed in the fighting.

Sunday’s march ended in front of the National Assembly where Son Sann Party President Son Soubert led prayers for those who were killed in a grenade attack at the same site in March last year. He asked the estimated 300 people present to remember all victims of political violence, including those killed during the UN-sponsored elections of 1993.

Two other opposition parties will hold memorial services today in Phnom Penh. Sam Rainsy Par­ty followers are invited to join a prayer ceremony this morning.

“There has been no record made of all those who died, but we know that many innocent people…were deprived of their property, their homes, their loved ones,” a party statement said Sat­urday.

Funcinpec leader Prince Noro­dom Ranariddh expects to lead about 3,000 supporters in a two- day religious ceremony beginning today. Funcinpec is still de­manding justice for party members killed since last July.

“Despite repeated promises by Hun Sen…those that committed the crimes remain protected by the rules of impunity,” a party statement said.

The statement also slammed certain unnamed countries for having done nothing to urge the  Second Prime Minister to bring the perpetrators to justice, de­spite investigations by the UN and other organizations.

Human rights group Amnesty International marked the anniversary this weekend with a statement condemning the “lack of any serious efforts by the Cam­bodian government” to investigate the killings.

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