Rainsy Rally Calls for UN Tribunal

Opponents of an international Khmer Rouge tribunal “use the same language as Pol Pot” in re­ject­ing international assist­ance, opposition leader Sam Rainsy told supporters at a rally Thurs­­day morning.

“Twenty-five years ago, Pol Pot argued that everything in Cam­bo­dia is a Cambodian affair,” Sam Rainsy said to a crowd of approximately 1,000 at Olym­pic Stadium. “It seems that through the present leadership we hear Pol Pot speaking.”

Sam Rainsy, who heads the National Assembly’s only opposition party, led the demonstrators from the stadium to the Indepen­dence Monument. The procession, defying warnings from the municipal government that the march would not be authorized, stopped traffic along Moni­vong, Norodom and Siha­nouk boulevards from 9:30 to 11 am.

At Olympic Stadium, Sam Rainsy addressed a crowd in Khmer, English and French. Members of the crowd waved UN, Cambodian and Buddhist flags. Signs in English and Khmer proclaimed “No Impunity for Criminals” and “We support the UN tribunal.”

Sam Rainsy told supporters that a tribunal without international help would be “a political instrument of the ruling party.”

He called the Cambodian legal system “politically corrupt be­yond repair” and said it will be impossible “to build anything acceptable, viable, workable or credible on the basis of the existing judiciary in Cambodia.”

Sam Rainsy estimated “thousands” of people marched the procession. He said some supporters were “a little afraid” to come, due to a newspaper report Tuesday of bomb threats by the Chinese mafia. Flanked by uniformed guards, Sam Rainsy carried a UN flag for most of the march.

Sam Rainsy plans to ask for a special meeting with Thomas Hammarberg, the UN’s special human rights envoy to Camb­odia. At the gathering, police on motorcycles were trying to disturb the demonstration, said Thach Setha, an SRP senator.

Sun Sorn, a 15-year veteran of the police force, said the exercises were part of a 71-day training program for police bodyguards who will protect King Norodom Sihanouk and foreign dignitaries.

Huy Kimthy, 43, a vendor at Olympic Market, said she was angry with the police because their training was insensitive to those who lost relatives in the Pol Pot era. Hoeun Houn, a Sam Rain­sy supporter, added: “They want to make the demonstrators afraid to enjoy democracy.”

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