Opposition leader Sam Rainsy said Sunday that he and others injured in the 1997 grenade attack in front of the National Assembly have filed a lawsuit in the US alleging Prime Minister Hun Sen was involved in the attack and protected those who carried it out.
The suit was filed under US law last week while Hun Sen was in New York to address the UN General Assembly, according to a statement received Sunday from the opposition party and Sam Rainsy.
The plaintiffs include Sam Rainsy, US national Ron Abney, a member of the US International Republican Institute who was injured in the attack, and Chan Thou Ly and Huen Huon who were also injured, according to the statement.“The court served a summons to Hun Sen at his hotel room on [Thursday],” Sam Rainsy said Sunday by telephone from Luxembourg.
Sam Rainsy said the suit was planned to coincide with Hun Sen’s visit to the UN assembly. “It is my duty, not just for myself, but for the others to pursue justice,” he added.
Hun Sen is being sued in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York under two US laws, the Alien Tort Claims Act and the Torture Victims Protection Act, according to the statement.
The first allows a foreign national to sue in the US for any violation of the “laws of nations,” according to a copy of the law. The Torture Victims Protection Act of 1991 allows anyone to sue those, including foreign government officials, responsible for torturing them.
Om Yentieng, an adviser to Hun Sen, said that Sam Rainsy was playing an “absurd game.” “When [he] lost the case here, he ran to another place in order to hide,” he said. “I would like Mr Sam Rainsy to reconsider if one country has the right to interfere in another country.”
On Wednesday the Cambodian Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by Sam Rainsy who was seeking to bring a legal case against Hun Sen alleging involvement in the grenade attack.
“Khmer courts cleared [Hun Sen] already,” Hun Sen’s lawyer Ka Savuth said Sunday. “[Sam Rainsy] just walks around suing people. His policy is suicide.”
US Embassy spokesman John Daigle said the embassy had no comment.