The UN human rights office has received about 50 new “credible allegations” of intimidation and violence while political intimidation “appears to have intensified in several provinces,” according to the office’s third campaign-period report.
It is investigating 189 “serious allegations of election-related violence or intimidation,” 76 of which have been “confirmed or assessed credible,” since May 20. Of those incidents, 13 are confirmed killings and four are alleged, the UN wrote. The rest include four unconfirmed and three attempted killings, and seven illegal arrests and detentions.
In the report, which covers July 10-17, the UN calls the practice voting drills run by local officials as a “form of voter intimidation.” The report says it is documenting these incidents of “dry-run elections” in Takeo, Kompong Cham, Kandal, Pursat and Battambang provinces.
Mock-election participants are told they have voted correctly when they have selected the CPP, the UN wrote.
Reports that unidentified men are monitoring three Funcinpec candidates in Koh Kong, Pursat and Takeo provinces were filed with the UN during the latest report period. And a Funcinpec observer in Kompong Chhnang and a Sam Rainsy Party candidate in Takeo have been the targets of attempted killings since July 10, the UN said.
While some government officials have dismissed allegations of nationwide political intimidation, others have admitted it is impossible to prevent all political harassment, and some does exist. The UN has written that widespread political intimidation has crippled opposition campaigns below the district level.
The report names Kompong Thom province as a place where intimidation has “intensified,” but it doesn’t go into further detail.
The UN is investigating two allegedly political murders there, and revealed new information about the July 5 killing of Sman Kim, a Funcinpec party activist who was shot while going out to tend his rice field.
The attackers used an M-16 assault rifle, the UN wrote. Only six of those types of weapons are in Chhuk Khsach commune, all of which are owned by local authorities, the UN reported, citing local police.
Police have said the motivation for the killing is a personal dispute related to the victim’s alleged activities as a “witch,” or traditional medicine doctor. The UN said there is evidence of both political and personal motives.
Also, two suspects arrested in connection with the June 14 murder of a Reastr Niyum activist in Prey Veng province have been released for lack of evidence, the UN said. Police arrested the men based on evidence of personal motive, police said.
The UN is also investigating alleged intimidation of a Committee for Free and Fair Elections official en route to Anlong Veng on July 5. The official was threatened by a new district chief, who is also a former senior Khmer Rouge cadre, the report said.