The Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy announced over the weekend that he planned to file new lawsuits abroad accusing Prime Minister Hun Sen of crimes against humanity in connection with the “K5 plan” carried out by the People’s Republic of Kampuchea government.
“I want to see Hun Sen handcuffed,” Sam Rainsy said Saturday by video link from Finland during a press conference at Sam Rainsy Party headquarters in Phnom Penh. “This is also a crime against humanity.”
Sam Rainsy said that he planned to file lawsuits in Finland and other countries against Hun Sen, but would not reveal when or where. “I don’t want to say which country’s court I will file the complaint in so as to avoid Hun Sen knowing – in order to have Hun Sen slip up and be arrested,” he said.
In 1984-’85, the PRK government and its Vietnamese mentors devised the “K5 Plan” in response to the continuing threat from the Khmer Rouge, which had retreated to the Cambodian-Thai border region and resumed guerilla resistance efforts after being overthrown by the Vietnamese in 1979. Hun Sen became prime minister in 1985.
Historians estimate that between 140,000 and 380,000 Cambodians were enlisted in a conscripted work effort from 1984-’87 to clear, secure and mine the densely forested border region. It is thought that thousands died from malaria and land mines. Historian Evan Gottesman has said that 25,000 died from malaria alone.
Cheam Yeap, a senior lawmaker of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, yesterday dismissed the allegations against Hun Sen, saying people voluntarily participated in the campaign, and that it was necessary to protect the country from the Khmer Rouge.
“If K5 was carried out to defend Hun Sen’s house, I would be worried, but because [we] did it for the nation to block the return of Pol Pot’s regime, I am not concerned,” he said.