Cambodian opposition group, Denmark-based Khmer National Liberation Front (KNLF), has filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) accusing Prime Minister Hun Sen of “crimes against humanity.” The opposition group is blaming Hun Sen for wide-ranging “crimes” before and after he came to power in 1985, including the deaths of Cambodians when he was briefly a battalion commander during the notorious Khmer Rouge’s rule in the 1970s.
In a letter to The Hague-based ICC dated June 20, the group also blamed Hun Sen and his ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) for what it called illegal imprisonment and forced evictions of Cambodians during his time in power.
“We are seeking justice for Cambodians,” Sam Serey, the KNLF president, told RFA’s Khmer Service on Tuesday.
Cambodia’s Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan told RFA that the government was not concerned by the KNLF complaint, adding that the request to the ICC was just a stunt “aimed at defaming Hun Sen.”
He said the government will allow the court to proceed with the complaint so that it could “uncover the truth” which would show that there is no evidence linking Hun Sen to any crime.
The alleged violations, it said, “put pressure on and against Cambodians by threatening their lives, murdering, imprisoning, and forced evictions and land grabbing.”
“If the international court finds that Hun Sen is guilty, then he must be held responsible,” Sam Serey said.
Hun Sen came to power following the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, which brought about the fall of the notorious Khmer Rouge regime. Opposition parties have regularly accused the long-ruling prime minister of being a puppet installed by the Vietnamese government.
The KNLF also linked Hun Sen to the assassinations of a number of Cambodian activists and journalists, forced evictions, and land grabs over the last 10 years, and the jailing of political opposition leaders.
It said the government had tried to cover up responsibility for a 2010 stampede that killed 400 in Phnom Penh and had smothered investigations into a widespread epidemic of food poisoning last year, as well as the more than 2,000 deaths by traffic accident annually in the country.