Rights Groups Petition Gov’t For Arrest of Top KR Leaders

Fifteen of the most prominent advocates for human rights and dem­ocracy in Cambodia have petitioned for the arrest of surviving leaders of the murderous 1975-79 Democratic Kampu­chea regime.

A letter, authored by opposition lawmaker Son Chhay and political analyst and scholar Lao Mong Hay, appealed Wednesday to the general prosecutor of the Ap­peals Court to issue the arrest warrants. It named geriatric former Khmer Rouge leaders Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary and Khieu Sam­phan as the suspects of genocide and crimes against humanity who most deserved imprisonment.

“Please, general prosecutor, immediately issue warrants to ar­rest these three people in order for them to be prosecuted and held responsible for those crimes,” the letter read. “Nuon Chea, Ieng Sa­ry and Khieu Sam­phan are of­fered too much freedom, while only a few Khmer Rouge leaders, like Ta Mok and Duch, are being de­tained.”

A clerk for General Prosecutor Hanrot Raken said his boss was in meetings Wednesday and could not comment on the petition.

But government spokesman Khieu Kanharith dismissed the need for such arrests. “I haven’t seen those three go anywhere yet,” he said. “There is no law to say that we have to arrest those people. I don’t say the government doesn’t have any plans to arrest them, but we don’t have any law to justify it.”

Son Chhay disagreed, citing the 1994 outlawing of the Khmer Rouge and the 2001 law on establishing a Khmer Rouge tribunal.

Kem Sokha, director of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, said he just wanted to see the Khmer Rouge suspects treated equally. He said this week he was in Pailin, where relatives of jailed Khmer Rouge commander Ta Mok asked him why the government allowed other former ca­dres to go free. “It should be fair for everyone,” Kem Sokha said.

The petition’s signatories in­cluded officials from the Center for Social Development, the Cam­bodian Center for Human Rights and rights groups Adhoc and Licadho.

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