Sam Rainsy Vows Attack Will Be Investigated

Sam Rainsy will seek justice for the victims of a 1997 grenade attack on an opposition rally once the op­po­sition takes control of the government, the opposition party leader as­sured listeners to a roundtable call-in show aired on Voice of Demo­cracy radio on Thursday.

But the search for justice cannot be­gin until the courts are independent, Sam Rainsy said.

He denied that he had put the gre­nade attack behind him—a topic so sensitive it induced Prime Min­is­ter Hun Sen to sue him for defamation last year.

“Sam Rainsy Party and myself will try the best to seek justice for all [those] who are victims of any violence and human rights abuses,” he said. “But in Cambodia the court is not independent…. We wait until there is an independent court and a true democracy and when the Sam Rainsy Party leads the country, then the victims will receive justice.”

Government spokesman and In­for­mation Minister Khieu Kan­ha­rith said the comments would not af­fect a recent compromise be­tween CPP and the opposition, be­cause Sam Rainsy had stopped ac­cusing Hun Sen of orchestrating the attack.

Khieu Kanharith added that the government, too, would continue to seek justice in the case.

But he claimed that the only suspects were two men who have since died: one a former bodyguard for Sam Rainsy, the other a Fun­cinpec official.

Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Yim Sovann called any allegation that the real attackers were opposition supporters “ridiculous.”

Center for Social Development President Chea Vannath noted that, given Sam Rainsy’s recent meeting with Hun Sen, it was possible that CPP had given Sam Rainsy “a green light” to discuss the issue, and wondered if it was linked to a recent reshuffle within the municipal police department.

“Justice,” she said, “is when all sides are satisfied with the process. It depends on all the parties in­volved, on their interpretations of justice.”


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