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Immunity Pull Easy for Majority: Experts

The National Assembly in Cambodia often strips immunity from parliamentarians of the Funcinpec and Sam Rainsy parties, but they never suspend the immunity of the Cambodian People's Party, a rights expert warned this week.

An expert who observes the democratic process and human rights violations in Cambodia, Lao Monghay, said the National Assembly in Cambodia is not independent and is biased to the ruling party.

"Our National Assembly is not independent. If the National Assembly was independent it should not take immediate action," said Lao Monghay, a senior researcher for the Asian Human Rights Commission in Hong Kong. "The thing is that, they should ask the municipal court whether the court has enough accurate evidence to charge, to arrest or to detain."

"In fact the National Assembly should protect its member first, and when the court has found enough accurate evidence and reasonable cause whether this case could lead to arrest or detention, then they can agree through the request," he said.

"But until now the National Assembly is biased toward the ruling party, or Cambodian People's Party, because most of the parliamentarians are from the ruling party and those parliamentarians always agree through the proposal of the court," he said. "So that they can say that it is bias to the ruling party and that they always want to condemn the opposition party's parliamentarians. It is injustice."

Sok Samoeun, director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, said it is easy for the ruling party's parliamentarians to strip immunity from opposition parliamentarians, because they have more power.

"The parliamentarian [suspension] issue is in the ruling party's hand to make a decision because they have a majority seat in the Assembly, so that it made all of the other parties' parliamentarians feel so much cold," Sok Samoeun said.

"The democracy process in Cambodiais not yet stable and the court power is not independent, so it must be under the control of the ruling party, he said, adding that in order to make all the political parties equal, the court system should be strong and independent."