UN Says 16 Killed in Poll-Related Violence

At least 16 people were killed in election-related violence over the past four months, according to a UN report released Thursday.

The report from the Cambodia Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights lists the results of investigations into 49 killings since May 20. In addition to the 16 killings deemed politically motivated, the UN office states another six people were killed “in cases where both political and personal aspects were present.” Investigators concluded that 20 deaths were unrelated to the July 26 election and left seven more cases as still unsolved.

The 16 victims included 11 people killed near the former Khmer Rouge stronghold of An­long Veng in an election day at­tack. Khmer Rouge soldiers are suspected in the attack, which occurred as voting began July 26, the report stated.

The number of politically related deaths in Thursday’s report did not include deaths from police crackdowns on opposition protests. The UN’s senior envoy for human rights to Cambodia, Thomas Hammarberg, last week released a statement expressing concern over reports of 18 bodies seen in and around the capital since police started breaking up protests Sept 7.

The government’s senior hu­man rights representative Thurs­day said judicial and penal police are investigating reports of murders and cast doubt over the ac­curacy of the numbers in Thurs­day’s UN report.

“This report is only information for further investigation,” said Om Yentieng, a senior adviser to Second Prime Minister Hun Sen and president of the government’s Cambodian Human Rights Commission. “If we get a clear report of a crime from the authorities then we investigate. I cannot say if the UN report is correct or incorrect.”

Om Yentieng said the commission did not yet have any official figures for how many people were killed in politically related violence in the past few months.

The Cambodian Human Rights Commission was created in June by the two prime ministers, and consists of two close advisers to each of the two co-premiers.

The government human rights group released a report last week that described six bodies found in Kandal province in the first three weeks of September. Three  were of people said to have died in local or domestic disputes. The identified victims included a man stealing bananas and another man caught in an extra-marital affair. Three others were unidentified, two of which were found with their hands tied behind their backs.

 

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