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1997 Grenade Attack Will Not Be Forgotten: Sam Rainsy

A Cambodian man, left, views photos the scene of victims of the March 30, 1997 deadly grenade attack, dispaying during a Buddhist ceremony in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Wednesday, March 30, 2011. Buddhist monks and the main opposition party members in Cambodia

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy says the anniversary of a deadly grenade attack in Phnom Penh 15 years ago must not be forgotten.

The March 30, 1997, attack on an opposition rally killed 16 people and wounded hundreds more.

“We cannot forget it,” Sam Rainsy told VOA Khmer in a TV interview. “We will always remember it.”

No one was ever arrested for the attack, which was widely blamed on supporters of the then co-prime minister, Hun Sen, who seized power in a violent coup several months later.

Sam Rainsy told VOA Khmer he did not want the families of victims to lose hope.

He has filed lawsuits in the courts of the US and France, he said, but it took decades even for Khmer Rouge leaders to be brought to trial.

Sam Rainsy has also filed suit in a US court against Prime Minister Hun Sen for alleged crimes in the “K-5” deforestation camp.

“We will have to fight for justice to avoid such crimes in the future,” he said. “I still hope the perpetrator will face his day in court.”