PM Complains To Rights Envoy Over Duch, UN Representative

In his first meeting with the UN’s newly appointed human rights envoy, Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday repeated allegations by former S-21 Chairman Kaing Guek Eav that a UN human rights officer had tried to take the crimes against humanity suspect to Belgium in 1999, the premier’s Cabinet announced.

The premier also said the UN should reconsider whether Christophe Peschoux, who is now country representative of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, should continue working in Cambodia.

For nearly two hours on Thursday, Mr Hun Sen met UN Special Rapporteur Surya Subedi at the Foreign Ministry. As they spoke, 23 HIV/AIDS-affected families were evicted from the Borei Keila settlement in Prampi Makara district to a distant new location, which rights workers say may endanger their health.

The premier’s assistant Eang Sophalleth told reporters that Mr Hun Sen had asked Mr Subedi to speak to Om Yentieng, president of the government’s human rights committee, about the Duch matter at a meeting, which was to occur later on Thursday.

“Samdech Decho [Hun Sen] recommended to Excellency Surya [Subedi] to work with Excellency Om Yentieng this afternoon at three o’clock to discover the reasons why the UN human rights representative ten years ago, Mr Christophe Peschoux, tried to take Duch out of the country to Thailand and then to Belgium,” Mr Sophalleth said.

At the Khmer Rouge tribunal on April 22, the accused, best known as Duch, said that during a 1999 interview he had been threatened by Mr Peschoux, who then work-

ed at the UN human rights office in Phnom Penh and had sought to take Duch to Belgium.

Mr Peschoux declined to comment Thursday.

However Mr Subedi said Thurs-

day evening that the matter was extraneous.

“He [the prime minister] did bring up that matter, but so far as I am concerned, these matters are not directly related to my mandate,” said Mr Subedi, adding that he had also discussed land rights, the rule of law and cooperation, rather than confrontation, with NGOs.

“This being my first mission, I am here to listen, to learn and

to familiarize myself with the

situation.”

Following the September resignation of Mr Subedi’s predecessor, Kenyan law professor Yash Ghai, Mr Hun Sen pledged to cooperate with his successor.

 

 

 

 

Related Stories

Latest News

The Weekly DispatchA new weekly newsletter from The Cambodia Daily delivering news, analysis and opinion to your inbox. Published every Friday at 11:30am. Sign up today.