The Norodom Ranariddh Party issued a statement Wednesday announcing that the party will provide legal consultation and lawyers for victims and family members of victims killed or injured in the 1997 grenade attack on a demonstration led by SRP President Sam Rainsy.
The statement comes on the heels of a Friday letter in which Prince Norodom Ranariddh chastised Sam Rainsy for dropping a lawsuit against Prime Minister Hun Sen concerning the grenade attack, which killed more than 12 people and injured over 200.
“The [NRP] appeals to the victims and the family members of the victims of the 1997 grenade attack to file complaints at the court,” the statement said, adding: “The NRP will assist legal consultation to help the victims to file a lawsuit.”
“Justice for the victims of the grenade attack can not be decided by a politician who uses Cambodian blood in exchange for political benefit,” the NRP statement adds.
In 2005, Sam Rainsy filed two lawsuits against Prime Minister Hun Sen over the attack—one with Cambodian courts, which was dismissed, and another in the US, which was dropped shortly before the SRP leader returned to Cambodia after a year in exile.
Sam Rainsy said by telephone that the NRP only issued the statement to make political gains from the attack.
“If Prince Norodom Ranariddh wanted to help the victims he should have helped them 10 years ago,” Sam Rainsy said. He added that on many successive anniversaries of the July 1997 factional fighting that ousted Prince Ranariddh from power, the prince failed to honor the Funcinpec fighters that died fighting for his side.
NRP spokesman Muth Channtha responded that Sam Rainsy should not get angry with Prince Ranariddh and said he would welcome the SRP leader’s participation in the newly created NRP movement to investigate the grenade attack.
Interior Ministry spokesman Lieutenant General Khieu Sopheak said Wednesday that the investigation into the 1997 attack is still ongoing.
“The case is not closed yet,” he said.