Sam Rainsy, Ex-Khmer Rouge Trade Insults

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy on Wednesday accused Prime Minister Hun Sen of trying to undermine a tribunal for the Khmer Rouge regime by urging former guerrilla leaders to threaten renewed civil war if Cambodia cannot control the trials.

“He pushes the Khmer Rouge to threaten the UN that they would create problems if the UN insists on an international tribunal,” Sam Rainsy said.

And now, Sam Rainsy says, Hun Sen is pushing the Khmer Rouge against the Sam Rainsy Party because it is the most prominent local organization to actively call for internationally controlled trials. “Hun Sen wants to push the Khmer Rouge against Sam Rainsy because everyone else is silent,” he said.

A top Hun Sen adviser said Wednesday that there is no truth to Sam Rainsy’s statements. Everything the former Khmer Rouge do “is from their hearts,” said the adviser, who asked not to be identified.

Sam Rainsy has invited several former Khmer Rouge leaders to meet him at 10 am today at the National Assembly. His invitation is in response to letters from ex-guerrilla commanders written to him asking that he visit former Khmer Rouge zones.

Sam Rainsy wants to talk about his vision for a tribunal.

The former Khmer Rouge officials, however, want to know why Sam Rainsy was so critical in comments he made Aug 14 at Poch­entong Airport. Returning from a fund-raising trip to the US, Rainsy criticized the CPP-driven decision to allow for a possible delay in the trial of Khmer Rouge leaders for up to three years, saying it was a ploy to protect Khmer Rouge cadres who had defected. He also referred to former Khmer Rouge officials who defected as “criminals.”

At a press conference Tuesday, Pailin Governor Y Chhien de­fend­ed himself and his colleagues, warning Sam Rainsy that pushing for an international tribunal could renew civil war.

“Do we want this peace lost or do we save it for the nation?” Y Chhien asked. “We are the legal armed forces under the government, the law and the King. Why should we be targeted by one politician?”

In a statement Sunday, several other former Khmer Rouge officials—many of whom are now top army officers—also asked Sam Rainsy to explain his hostility toward them. “Why do you blame us as Khmer Rouge and criminals…as we all have defected,” they asked. “The king and government recognized, welcomed and pardoned us. What is your idea?

“What you have said will cause a division of society and the emergence of war again,” the statement continued.

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