Royalists Offer Truce in Exchange for Apology

Funcinpec offered to withdraw a number of defamation suits filed last week if the defendants publicly apologize for insulting Prince No­rodom Ranariddh, party officials said Sunday.

The royalist party filed three se­par­ate lawsuits last week against op­position leader Sam Rainsy, Prey Veng opposition lawmaker Chea Poch and Cambodian Cen­ter for Human Rights director Kem Sokha.

All three face accusations of defamation after claiming that Prince Ranariddh accepted bribes in exchange for forming a coalition with the CPP.

Funcinpec is seeking $25,000 compensation in each suit.

“We don’t want the compensation,” Funcinpec depu­ty secretary-general Ok Socheat said. “We want justice for Prince No­ro­dom Ranariddh.”

Both Chea Poch and Kem Sokha refused flat out on Sunday to apologize to the the Funcinpec chief, and said that they would prefer to have the matter settled in court.

“I have enough evidence to prove Prince Norodom Ra­na­riddh is involved in corruption,” Chea Poch said.

Kem Sokha described the lawsuits as an attempt to stifle criticism of the royalist party.

“I will not apologize,” he said. “I will continue to condemn the party, and if they want me to stop, they should withdraw the suit themselves.”

Sam Rainsy and Chea Poch also released a statement on Sunday questioning the constitutionality of the lawsuits.

According to the statement, the two will not comply with any court summons without legal clarification from the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Council as the Constitution protects the parliamentary immunity of National Assembly members.

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