Pol Pot and his cadre would have killed then-prince Norodom Sihanouk in the 1970s had the monarch pulled his support form the Khmer Rouge in the early days of the communist movement, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Tuesday.
His remarks followed arguments made last week by a small US-based advocacy group, the Cambodia Action Committee for Justice and Equity, which said Sihanouk's constitutional immunity in a tribunal should be stripped.
The government said in a statement Friday the former king's immunity was not in jeopardy, and Hun Sen's remarks Monday hammered the message home.
Citing a recorded conversation between of Pol Pot and other Khmer Rouge cadre, Hun Sen said the leaders of Democratic Kampuchea, the official name of the regime, discussed killing Sihanouk, the former prince who was ousted in a US-supported coup.
From Beijing, Sihanouk had made himself the nominal head of a coalition in exile that included the Khmer Rouge.
When he considered resigning from that post, Hun Sen said, Pol Pot and other leaders of the movement planned to lure him back to Cambodia to "solve" the problem "smoothly."
"Pol Pot's meaning of to 'solve it smoothly' is to kill," Hun Sen told onlookers at a pagoda inauguration. "If [Sihanouk] rebelled, he was finished."