kompong speu town – A prosecutor said Wednesday it would be unreasonable to expect him to charge Second Prime Minister Hun Sen with the murder of three high-ranking Funcinpec military officials based on evidence submitted so far.
“In this case, I dare not charge anyone unreasonably, because I haven’t yet received any evidence at all,” said Ven Yeoun, the prosecutor for the Kompong Speu Provincial Court.
On Tuesday, an associate of opposition figure Sam Rainsy went to court to submit evidence in support of charging Hun Sen with ordering the murders of Krouch Yoeum, Men Bunthan and Chao Sambath in the aftermath of last July’s factional fighting.
The lone piece of evidence submitted to the prosecutor was an August memorandum from the UN rights center here detailing extrajudicial killings since last July. The report doesn’t charge Hun Sen with ordering any killings.
Sam Rainsy, who filed the murder cases on behalf of the victims’ widows last spring, had stated Monday his intention to go to Kompong Speu himself to state his case. He said Wednesday evening he sent an associate instead after a widow declined to attend with him.
“I cannot insist too much because they do not feel it’s safe and we’re not yet at the decisive stage” of the case, Sam Rainsy said.
Ven Yeoun said it’s difficult to investigate a case when such little evidence is provided. He said he is waiting for more information from the UN, as well as testimony from the victims’ families and other witnesses.
“We need the victims’ families to be questioned to find out the truth of the information about the deaths and other sources of information,” he said. “We need the death certificates, the body examination certificates as evidence. We also need to check the places where the bodies were buried and the report about those places.”
Ven Yeoun also noted that no assailants have been identified, much less ones who have accused Hun Sen of ordering the killings.
Sam Rainsy suggested Wednesday that the prosecutor merely is afraid to take on the country’s highest leader and is “buying time, dragging his feet.”
But Ven Yeoun said: “This case needs a long time to investigate because right now we don’t have any clear evidence at all.”
(Additional reporting by Jeff Smith)