As the European Commission is in the final month of a 12-month review of its trade preferences for Cambodia under its Everything But Arms (EBA) programme, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has thrown down the gauntlet to the EU by putting Kem Sokha, the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party’s (CNRP) current president, on trial for treason.
His alleged crime was to say that he had received training from a US-based non-governmental organisation on democracy. A government-controlled court has announced that his trial — which should be summarily dismissed for lack of evidence — will take three months.
The European Commission announced the review early last year. Under the EBA programme, the EU unilaterally gives preferential treatment to products in return for the recipient country’s respect of basic human rights as laid down in international law.