Prince Norodom Ranariddh has publicly chastised SRP President Sam Rainsy for dropping a lawsuit concerning the 1997 grenade attack on a peaceful demonstration led by the SRP leader.
The prince also called on the government, the national police and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation to publicly release the results of their investigations into the grenade attack, which killed more than 12 people and injured over 200.
“I want the Ministry of Interior and the national police…to reveal the report that they have been investigating for almost 10 years to let the public and the victims know,” the prince wrote in a letter dated Friday. “We also request that the FBI, who actively participated in the investigation, reveal their report to the public.”
Prince Ranariddh’s newfound interest in the grenade attack came with a demand that Sam Rainsy explain to the public why he has shied away from his previous claims that Prime Minister Hun Sen had a hand in the attacks.
“I also request that Sam Rainsy clarify to the public why he decided to withdraw the lawsuit against Hun Sen and write a letter of apology.”
In 2005, Sam Rainsy filed two lawsuits against the prime minister over the attack—one in the Cambodian courts, which was dismissed by the Supreme Court, and another in the US, which was withdrawn in Feb 2006. That same month, Sam Rainsy—eager to return from a year in exile—wrote a conciliatory letter to Hun Sen saying that he regretted linking the prime minister to the grenade attack.
Norodom Ranariddh Party spokesman Muth Channtha said Sunday that the goal of the prince’s letter was to demonstrate that Sam Rainsy is no longer seeking justice for the people.
“This is to show that Sam Rainsy, who is a main witness, has abandoned the grenade attack case and he must explain himself to the victims,” Muth Channtha said.
Sam Rainsy said Sunday that he was still keenly interested in finding those responsible for the attack, and brushed off the prince’s criticisms, saying that he was “not interested in [Prince] Ranariddh.”
“I didn’t apologize [to Hun Sen], I wrote that I regretted—these are only diplomatic words,” he said, adding that he withdrew the US lawsuit against Hun Sen because there was not sufficient evidence to cast blame for the attack on a single individual.
“I have continued to demand the arrest of the killers,” he said, adding: “Government officials must have been involved with the attack.”
Interior Ministry spokesman Lieutenant General Khieu Sopheak declined to comment on the investigation of the attack but said that Prince Ranariddh, who was first prime minister at the time, should know all about it.
“Prince Norodom Ranariddh was the first prime minister…he must know the case,” he said.
Muth Channtha called Khieu Sopheak’s remarks “irresponsible,” and said that the premier would only know what ministry investigators tell him.
The prince’s new attack on Sam Rainsy comes shortly after an informal and jovial public meeting between the SRP leader and Hun Sen at the Phnom Penh airport last Wednesday, possibly suggesting warmer relations between the two parties. At that rare meeting, Hun Sen revealed to Sam Rainsy a letter from the prince seeking to negotiate with the CPP.
Muth Channtha said that Prince Ranariddh’s new attack against Sam Rainsy—who has rejected calls from the prince to join forces—was not in response to his friendly exchange with the prime minister.
“We have planned to release the statement a long time ago,” he said.