|Sam Rainsy, former leader of the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party, speaks to the media during a press conference in 2014 in Phnom Penh. Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP|
Mech Dara and Andrew Nachemson | The Phnom Penh Post
Publication date 07 December 2017 | 15:43 ICT
A lawyer for the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces filed a complaint against former opposition leader Sam Rainsy for “incitement” today, one day after Prime Minister Hun Sen said Rainsy’s comments encouraging soldiers to defy orders to fire on demonstrators amounted to “treason”.
Vong Pheakdey, lawyer for the RCAF, told reporters that he “filed complaint against Sam Rainsy for inciting the armed forces to cause insecurity to the state”.
Speaking outside of Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Pheakdey said the suit stems from comments made in Paris on Saturday, which were later posted in a video to Rainsy’s Facebook page on Tuesday.
The self-exiled founder of the now dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party had urged the armed forces “not to shoot and kill innocent people” even if ordered to do so.
Hun Sen called the comments a “declaration of war”.
Today, Pheakdey said the complaint was filed because Rainsy had encouraged forces not to obey “leaders which are the legitimate government”.
The complaint accuses Rainsy of threatening national security, but the word “treason” does not actually appear in the document.
“I would like to inform the prosecutor that in December 2017 Sam Rainsy incited the armed forces not to obey the orders of the legitimate head of the royal government,” the complaint reads, adding that Rainsy’s actions have “impacted state security”.
“We hope that the court will take action urgently,” Pheakdey added.
Despite the wording of the complaint, government spokesman Phay Siphan said it was still the government’s position that Rainsy committed treason.
“We do not take the law into our own hands,” he said, explaining that it was up to the court to decide whether or not to charge him.
Former Deputy CNRP President Mu Sochua said the lack of a specific complaint related to treason “shows even more they don’t have a case”.
“They are not tolerant of any critics.”