Legislative Group Condemns CPP Expulsions

An international lawmakers’ group has reiterated its condemnation of the expulsion of three CPP lawmakers from the Senate and the party last December, despite the government’s arguments in favor of the expulsions’ legitimacy.

The Inter-Parliamentary Union, an organization representing the legislative bodies of 144 countries, adopted a resolution at its meeting last week in Geneva urging the Senate to “take remedial action without further delay to prevent such occurrences in the future.”

The text of the resolution evaluates arguments made by Senate President Chea Sim in an Aug 20 letter, claiming that the human rights of former senators Chhang Song, Phay Siphan and Pou Savath were not violated by their expulsion.

The three were kicked out of the CPP and the Senate after they strayed from the party line by criticizing articles of the proposed penal code. Chea Sim argued to the union that under the Cambo­dian system, parliamentary seats are linked to party membership.

However, the union noted in its resolution, “Neither the Consti­tution nor the Senate Standing Orders provide for expulsion from the Senate as a result of expulsion from a party.”

It states that “None of the ob­servations and information [Chea Sim] submitted disprove the… conclusions, namely that…the dismissal from the Senate of Mr Chhang Song, Mr Siphan Phay and Mr Pou Savath is unlawful.”

It invites either Chea Sim or one-quarter of the Senate members to exercise their right to seek an interpretation of the Cambodian Constitution on the matter and asks for complaints submitted by Chhang Song to be addressed.

In a separate resolution, the union also blasted the government for allowing the 1997 gre­nade attack on a protest led by opposition leader Sam Rainsy to go unpunished. At least 19 people were killed and about 150 wounded in the attack, for which no ar­rests have been made.

The union “deplores the lack of cooperation from the authorities [and] can but infer from their lack of response that, contrary to their undertaking to combat impunity, they seem to have little or no in­terest in ensuring that the competent authorities fulfill their duty to identify and bring to justice those responsible for the heinous grenade attack,” the resolution states.

It concludes, “In failing to dispense justice in this case by identifying and prosecuting the culprits, the State of Cambodia is guilty, by omission, of a violation of Mr Sam Rainsy’s right to security and to justice.”


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