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Opposition Leader Prepares Suits Against Hun Sen

Cambodian opposition party leader Sam Rainsy, stands in front of the municipal court in Phnom Penh, (file photo).
Cambodian opposition party leader Sam Rainsy, stands in front of the municipal court in Phnom Penh, (file photo).

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy says he is preparing to file more complaints against Prime Minister Hun Sen, similar to allegations he has already made in a New York court.

“I have met my lawyer to prepare lawsuits against Hun Sen for killing many people on several occasions,” Sam Rainsy told VOA Khmer in an interview last week, without elaborating. “He was involved in these crimes, including crimes against humanity.”

Sam Rainsy alleges Hun Sen was responsible for the deaths of people sent to clear forests along the Thai border in the 1980s, where they met with malaria and other diseases and land mines.

“I would like to appeal to all people in Cambodia or overseas who lived through K5, who witnessed the events, or who fell victims themselves, to come together now,” he said.

There are no official figures on how many people died curing the K5 campaign. Sam Rainsy’s complaints follow victory for him in a French court in a defamation case brought by Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, who had alleged Sam Rainsy had unfairly claimed he had led a Khmer Rouge camp.

Sam Rainsy said his victory in that case “opens the way for me to file more complaints. This time not against Hor Namhong, but Hun Sen.”

Sam Rainsy said he plans to file his first complaint in a court in Geneva later this month.

The opposition leader remains in self-imposed exile and faces a raft of criminal prison sentences related to demonstrations on the Vietnamese border in 2009. With elections approaching in 2012 and 2013, Hun Sen has said there will be no political settlement of those cases.

Sam Rainsy said “modern technology” allows him to maintain daily contact with his supporters. But he added that his party was working to pressure the current government to secure his return ahead of elections.

Observers have noted that without the presence of the main opposition leader, the upcoming elections may not be perceived as free or fair.