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Cambodia’s 2013 Elections: When a Democracy is not a Democracy

23 Jul

khmer2013elections

The Cambodian elections to be held at the end of July have already managed to cause heated controversy, long before Cambodians take to the polls. In the run up to the elections Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen threatened to ban foreign radio programs, until he backtracked after pressure for the US government and Western media, while self-exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy returned to Cambodia to stand for elections after being pardoned by the king. On the other hand the US government has threatened to stop AID to Cambodia if the elections are unfair.

Western media has been ablaze with criticism of Hun Sen’s twenty-eight years rule, siding with US foreign policy instead of reporting from an unbiased analytical perspective.  It’s the usual human rights story that tugs at the heart strings of every patriotic capitalist American, a power-hungry-socialist-dictator and a corrupt government which refuses to allow fair democratic elections. However, the reality is quite the contrary and instead is an on-going propaganda campaign which dates back to the overthrow of the Khmer Rouge, ever since Hun Sen took office back in the mid-80s, by republican politicians and Western media organizations.

The purpose of this article is not to give explicit support for the Hun Sen government, nor the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), but instead to frame the Cambodian elections in an analytical perspective, something unheard of in Western media. Ever since the end of Khmer Rouge regime the US has support opposition against the Hun Sen government, first by supporting the Khmer Rouge during their exile in Thailand, then by supporting royalist Funcinpec Party and now opposition leader Sam Rainsy. US objectives were first aimed at overthrowing Vietnamese influence, but since the rise of China and the US pivot to Asia, their objectives have changed to overthrowing Chinese influences and furthering free market reforms. When Hun Sen makes remarks such as “change is a dangerous game” I tend to agree.

The Propaganda Model: Media Spin

The current media reporting is a mixture of the usual propaganda rhetoric from the US government and US operated VOA, RFA and Cambodian English language press, filtered down through poor media sourcing. Both RFA and VOA which have been intensively criticized as Western propaganda organizations, by the East and Southeast Asian governments were they operate often accused of stirring political opposition. The radio stations are controlled under the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), this means they are Independent agencies that exist outside of the federal executive departments and are funded by congress. RFA has often been accused of being a CIA front along with its Eurasian counterpart Radio Liberty, while VOA has been linked to the International Republican Institute. Don’t get me wrong these organizations can be affective at highlighting human rights abuses in the region, although unlike NGO’s they operate purely for the purposes of manipulating political pressure and forwarding US regional interests.

RFA and VOA have a common trend of vehemently criticizing the government while giving support for every pro-US political dissident, which only intensifies when it comes to the election period. This can be seen in the way RFA and VOA present opposition leader Sam Rainsy and prime minister Hun Sen.

The opposition Sam Rainsy:

“The charismatic president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, the main opposition party, said on Sunday that he would return home despite the risk of being jailed for convictions that many feel were politically motivated.”[1]

“Sam Rainsy’s announcement during the weekend that he will return to Cambodia will doubtless thrill supporters of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, the coalition of key opposition parties that combined to contest the election.”[2]

The current government Hun Sen:

“The wily Hun Sen advised King Norodom Sihamoni last Friday to pardon Sam Rainsy in an apparent attempt to placate international critics who have accused the premier of wanting to exclude the opposition politician from the July 28 vote.”[3]

“It is also a problem for the long-serving, authoritarian Prime Minister Hun Sen, as it comes at a time when Cambodia’s political situation is coming under greater scrutiny.  On Tuesday, the United States will hold a Congressional hearing on Cambodia’s constrained political landscape.”[4]

Along with the clear disparities over how the current ruling government and political opposition are viewed, there is also the spin of certain issues which are aimed at either discrediting Hun Sen, or presented as intentional actions aimed at silencing political opposition.

The recent plan to ban the airing of foreign radio programs such as RFA, VOA and Radio Australia which was later retracted by Hun Sen after pressure from the US government and the affected radio stations, could easily be viewed as a means to silence opposition, but also a means of conducting an unbiased election. However, because state-run foreign channels such as Voice of Vietnam, China Radio International and French public radio station RFI, would not have been affected by the ban, because they operate their own stations, this was easily politicized. Nonetheless, considering that these radio stations, as outlined above, work on a basis of discrediting the government and promoting the opposition for the purposes of progressing Western influence, the proposed ban can be viewed as completely acceptable in insuring a fair and unbiased election.  Despite RFA proclaiming in a press statement that they “remains committed to bringing objective, accurate, and balanced election coverage to the people of Cambodia at this critical time” and vowed that it “will do so on every delivery platform available” their reporting seems to hint otherwise.[5]

The next core issue is a recent draft law proposed by Cambodia’s parliament that will punish people who downplay the crimes of the Khmer Rouge era. In context the law it is no different from Laws against Holocaust denial implemented by Israel and European governments. Personally I find myself ambiguous on these types of laws, as despite being a good idea they can sometimes stem analytical criticism, as in the case of the Israel-Palestine conflict, were criticism of Israeli policies is often viewed as anti-Semitic. However, in certain cases such as Japan these laws would have been a good idea, were the denial of Japanese war crimes still causes heated outcries in the Asia-Pacific. Nonetheless, RFA and VOA has presented the law as purely politically motivated, due to the release of a recording by the government the previous month of Vice President Kem Sokha of Sam Rainsy’s National Rescue Party who was heard describing the Khmer Rouge’s notorious S-21 torture and execution centre as Vietnamese-inspired propaganda. Kem Sokha said the government has “manipulated his words,” while according to VOA Sam Rainsy claims “the authorities likely edited Kem Sokha’s remarks to try to make him look bad as they have done with his public comments in the past.”[6] The comment resulted in a 10,000-strong rally in Phnom Penh demanding Kem Sokha apologize for the alleged comments and a summons after a lawsuit was filed by four survivors of the Khmer Rouge-era Tuol Sleng prison.[7] Despite this Kem Sokha has ignored the summons and the CNRP described the rally as being organized by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.[8] However, the law could also be viewed as a further progression of the on-going Khmer Rouge trial when “Brother Number Two” Nuon Chea, made the first expression of remorse for the Cambodian genocide.[9] Despite this there is no doubt that there is a degree of political motivation involved in the law, although I tend to side with the official government line that failing to punish those who deny Khmer Rouge-era crimes could unleash chaos. Taking into consideration both Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha’s anti Vietnamese sentiment, who often describe Hun Sen as a puppet installed by the Vietnamese government, the law seems completely justified. Especially in a country still hugely divided on Vietnamese-Cambodian relations, which is at the centre of Khmer Rouge history and could easily be manipulated into destructive nationalism.

After Southeast Asian journalist Michael Vickery spoke to several American journalists based in Cambodia, who were critical of their own reporting yet continued to publish biased and inaccurate articles, he came to the logical conclusion that “at the centre of news production about Cambodia for the English-speaking world, there is a group of journalists who do not entirely believe what they are writing.”[10] This he argues means that “the word ‘strongman’ must precede every mention of the’ name ‘Hun Sen’, except, of course, when he is a Vietnamese puppet’.”[11]

Michael Vickery goes on to write:

“The foreign press in Cambodia does not always set a good example, in spite of a pretentious attitude toward their own role as a model for Cambodians. Since 1992 the Cambodian government has shown far more tolerance toward foreign-owned foreign language media than is permitted by laws in many western democracies, such as Sweden and France. Although the Press Law in force in 1992 prohibited foreign ownership of the press, no action was taken against foreign-owned papers which appeared, such as the Phnom Penh Post; and the new Press Law of 1995 says nothing about foreign ownership, except in the Khmer language press. The leading foreign newspaper is the Phnom Penh Post. It was established in 1992 by two American former employees of Asia Foundation. It has adopted an American-style of sensationalist writing, and too often its headlines are in themselves editorials.”[12]

The three main Cambodian English language newspapers include The Cambodian Herald, The Phnom Penh Post and The Cambodian Daily, all hold bias towards Hun Sen and the government. Both The Phnom Penh Post and The Cambodian Daily are operated by American’s. The Cambodian Daily, operated by Bernard Krisher member of the Council on Foreign Relations, is the most critical of the Cambodian government. Additional to the English language papers there are also numerous Khmer newspapers and radio stations that are critical of the government including the Moneaksekar Khmer the newspaper of the opposition. The International Republican Institute also broadcasts a weekly, youth focused political debate show, called Next Generation (Nek Bantor Ven in Khmer) broadcast on two major TV stations MyTV and CNC and on major radio broadcaster Vayo FM.[13] The elections which have now been dubbed the “Cambodia spring,” by Western media and the opposition, consistently talk about targeting Cambodian youth, which is also the same objective of the International Republican Institute with the objective of “Strengthening Political Party Youth Wings” and the establishment of the Youth Council of Cambodia and the Next Generation TV show.[14]

Land Grabs and Accusations of “Crimes against Humanity”

The most interesting news report is a Denmark-based Khmer National Liberation Front (KNLF) filing a complaint with the ICC accusing Hun Sen of genocide during his brief time spent as a battalion commander during Khmer Rouge’s rule in the 1970s, before fleeing to Vietnam.[15] Reported by RFA English language news, which was not published in Khmer, was purely aimed at lobbying Western governments in the run up to the elections. The organization started in December 2012 and run by Sam Serey a clear nationalist and anti-Vietnamese racist, lodged the complaint in June conveniently timed for the elections. Sam Serey who not shy about expressing his anti-Vietnamese sentiment last year wrote in his book:

“Like the evil policies of Vietnamese communist to swallow up Cambodian territory from the grasps of its people. As the evidence from past experiences shows that the deaths and massacre of millions Cambodian people, Khmer Krom and people in the region were due to Vietnamese communist expansionist policy.”

“At this moment, there are many problems happening in Cambodia today, such as deforestation, ore exploitation, land grabbing, corruption, tyranny, and illegal immigration by both Vietnamese civilians and uniformed soldiers into Cambodia. Yet the present regime led by Hun Sen has no true will in find a solution to seek justice for the Cambodian people. It seems as if the regime does not wish to protect the interest of Cambodian. On the other hand, in this book, the author wants to show Cambodian people’s need and their desires to change political leadership. Until the present leaders who live under neo-Vietnamese colonies are removed will our country truly gain independence, true peace, true freedom and true democracy if there are realized.”[16]

He goes on to write:

“In fact, the root of Khmer genocide was coming from the Indochinese communist federation that was created by Ho Chi Minh in 1930 in Hong Kong. Vietnam created another Khmer communist branch (Khmer Rouge) called Cambodian revolution party in 1951. Vietnam trained 3500-4000 Cambodian people with their wrong communist ideology in 1950s in Hanoi and they sent all these Cambodians to Cambodia during the Kampuchea democratic regime to practice their plot in Cambodia.”[17]

The book continues for another fifty-three pages of a mixture of Vietnamese and Hun Sen bashing and what could be perceived to some, as the downplaying the crimes of the Khmer Rouge. One has to wonder whether opinions like these, have helped persuade the Cambodian government to consider making the downplaying of Khmer Rouge crimes a law. Despite this RFA presented the story as a legitimate complaint and the humanitarian discourse used by KNLF of freedom, human rights and democracy, Sam Serey’s views seem more aligned with a far right nationalist destined to send the country into chaos rather than progress human rights. The Cambodia’s Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan responded to RFA about the accusation stating 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.”

However, this is not the first complaint lodged, RFA reports again that U.S.-based Sourn Sereyratha, who leads the Khmer People Power Movement (KPPM), lodged an allegation with the ICC accusing Hun Sen of ”crimes against humanity” the previous year.[18]  Sourn Sereyratha alleged that the Cambodian government had “forcibly evicted more than 100,000 people from land” which they have “legal title” to, and that members of the government are personally profiting from the use and sale of such land.”[19] The case which was thrown out by the ICC due to lack of evidence, but is something which is frequently politicized in the region and especially in Cambodia by VOA and RFA, along with other Western media.

This is not to say I agree with land grabbing, as a socialist it’s something I am vehemently opposed to. However, land grabbing can be found in numerous developing countries from Africa, to Latin America, to Indochina. Nonetheless, what makes Indochina stand out is as the Indochina socialist/communist government’s transfer from planned economies towards a free market economy, it is easy to politicize these issues as an organized and intentional state oppression. Insuring that the issue of land grabbing becomes politicized is important to Western interests, as it delegitimizes these governments who still proclaim socialist ideology and instead presents them as corrupt dictators.

Land disputes in Cambodia especially after the shooting of a 14-year-old Heng Chanta in May 2012, and environmental activist Chut Wutty in April 2012 by government forces, have become a heated topic in Western media. However, three things are often left out of the reports. Firstly the disputes are often down to compensation, with corrupt government officials, or corporations not paying land owners, or the rate compensation not being acceptable. The problem is the cost of land is variable and susceptible to corruption. Whether the international World Bank standards (recognised by the US) are used or not, it can still cause tension, especially as the World Bank itself has been implemented in land grabs. The second is the involvement of Western and other Asian corporations. Global Witness allege in a recent report that illegal land grabs are being conducted by two Vietnamese companies, state-owned VRG and privately owned Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) with investment backing from Deutsche Bank and International Finance Corp (IFC), a wing of the World Bank,[20] while the Guardian recently reported of the UK sugar company Tate & Lyle is conducting the same land grab activities.[21] The third issue is land grabs are often politicized, being linked to Cambodian nationalism and anti-Vietnamese sentiment, as presented by many of Cambodia’s opposition, who view Hun Sen as a “Vietnamese puppet.”

In 2006 Eng Chhai Eang opposition candidate and former secretary general of Sam Rainsy Party told US diplomats that Cambodia’s National Land Dispute Authority (NLDA) has had no “appreciable effect on land disputes and evictions.”[22] He viewed Hun Sen as “sincere in wanting to help the poor,” despite this he viewed the “people surrounding him prevent Hun Sen from doing so by hiding the truth.”[23] Citing an example he said Hun Sen “has ordered that land on the Cambodian Air Base across from the international airport be redistributed to the poor on three different occasions, but the military has not allowed it to happen.”[24] Eng Chhai Eang also implied that the Sam Rainsy Party exploits these issues by planning demonstrations during land evictions.[25] In an official government report in February 2013 less than 30 per cent of complaints filed to the National Authority for Land Dispute Resolution throughout 2012 were resolved.[26] Deputy Prime Minister and NALDR president Bin Chhin said complaints had increased due to some provincial authorities flouting the law and ignoring complaints at a local level stating “Some officials made documents illegally.”[27] Considering the opinions Eng Chhai Eang and the government’s official report, Cambodia’s land grabbing problem does not seem to be a direct result of the government and Hun Sen, but more so corrupt local official, international corporations and a weak Judiciary.

The legal case lodged with the ICC by Sourn Sereyratha blamed Hun Sen for the illegal land grabs among other things, resulted in the Cambodian government accusing Sereyratha of slander. Previously Sereyratha had been criticized by the Cambodian government with an arrest warrant being issued for incitement in late 2011, his reply to the arrest warrant accused the court of being a Vietnamese puppet establishment and requested the government prosecuted him either through the ICC, or a US based court.[28] He had also been criticized by many ordinary Cambodian, along with some members of the political opposition, for supporting the anti-Cambodian “royalist” Thai Yellow Shirts, along with siding with Thailand on the Preah Vihea temple dispute.[29] Sourn Sereyratha’s ICC allegation’s had even further reaching results, when Mam Sonando duel Cambodian-French citizen and owner and director of Phnom Penh’s Beehive Radio station, in June 2012 reported from Holland Sourn Sereyratha lodging of the ICC complaint. Mam Sonando stirring political uproar by reporting on the claims made in Sourn Sereyratha accusations lodged with the ICC, which blamed Hun Sen for the 2010 Phnom Penh bridge stampede, during the Khmer Water Festival, which killed some 353 people.[30] Outraged by the events Hun Sen accused Mam Sonando of leading a separatist plot and attempting to create a “state within a state,”[31] Upon his return to Cambodia Mam Sonando was sentenced to twenty-years for inciting insurrection by Cambodia’s lower court, an appeals court later overturned the ruling five months later, after receiving criticism from both the French and US government and international human rights organizations, which labelled Mam Sonando a “prisoner of conscience.”[32] Critically there is no doubt that the imprisonment of Mam Sonando was excessive and outright wrong, despite this Mam Sonando was intentionally stirring political tension and reporting on unfactual information, intentionally aimed at causing political turmoil.

Sam Rainsy and the opposition

Sam Rainsy unlike previous Western-backed opposition leaders is the perfect Western poster boy, former member of the royalist Funcinpec Party, until he formed the Khmer Nation Party (KNP) in 1995, which became the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) in 1998, is a Western educated, joint French-Cambodian national and free market capitalist. However, despite this perception being presented in Western media, the reality is not quite as perfect.

Sam Rainsy’s father Sam Sary was a prominent politician in King Norodom Sihanouk cabinet, until he fell out of favour with Sinhanouk, after a few high profile scandals and eventually fled into exile in Thailand after being implicated in a failed coup d’état. Closely aligned with Western powers, Sam Sary was the Cambodian diplomat to London in the 50s, until he appeared in the British tabloid the Daily Mirror with the headline “embassy girl accuses envoy: I was hit. The embassy nurse shows her scars and wonders: dare she go back?.”[33] Accused of beating his mistress, Sam Sary outraged the UK public along with the Cambodian government by justifying his actions to journalists, insisting as head of the household he had a right to spank his children and domestic personnel with a flexible stick as a disciplinary measure whenever the need should arise.[34] Recalled and then shunned in the Cambodian government because he has given the impression that Cambodians were “savages in the eyes of the civilized world,” Sam Sary turned towards the opposition.[35] In 1959 Sam Sary was implicated in the Bangkok Plot an attempted coup to overthrow Sihanouk, conducted by Sam Sary, Son Ngoc Thanh, Dap Chhuon, and the governments of Thailand and South Vietnam.[36] At the end of 1960, Indian Magazine Blitz published a letter between Sam Sary and Edmund H. Kellogg, the former Counsellor and Deputy Chief of Mission of the American embassy in Phnom Penh, which implicated that the US was directly aiding Sam Sary.[37] Due to the actions of Sam Sary, Sam Rainsy is still viewed with scepticism among some of his native Cambodian’s.

The US which was implicated in the Bangkok Plot, was also partially responsible for the rise of the Khmer Rouge through their bombing campaign of Cambodia during the Vietnam War. After the Khmer Rouge took control of Cambodia the US supported the regime and encouraged Chinese support during the Cambodian genocide and throughout their exile in Thailand. Henry Kissinger once told the foreign minister of Thailand in 1975 that “You should also tell the Cambodians that we will be friends with them. They are murderous thugs, but we won’t let that stand in our way. We are prepared to improve relations with them.”[38] After the decline of the Khmer Rouge and UNTAC’s organization of the first democratic elections the US began backing the royalist Funcinpec Party, which formed a coalition with Hun Sen’s CPP, but since 1998 have declined in popularity. After 1998, when Hun Sen took full control of the government, Sam Sary became the Western choice of political opposition.

Sam Rainsy was appointed Minister of Finance in 1992, during the coalition for the Funcinpec Party. However, despite his appointment he extensively criticized both the CCP and his own party the Funcinpec and was strongly opposed to the law banning of the PDK, better known as the Khmer Rouge, resulting in him being expelled from Funcinpec and voted out of government.[39] The decision which was heavily criticized by Western human rights groups, but legally justified in Cambodian law, eventually led to him forming his own political opposition.[40] Sam Rainsy eventually became viewed as the new Western poster boy of the Cambodian opposition and was far more socially executable than the barbarous Khmer Rouge, or the waning popularity of the Funcinpec Party.

Sam Rainsy’s newly formed Sam Rainsy Party run in both the 1998 and 2003 elections winning a seat in parliament for Kompong Cham province. However, Sam Rainsy has neither managed to gain major electoral success to become a serious threat to Hun Sen’s government, who support mainly comes from the poor working class, nor has he managed to stay away from controversy.  Sam Rainsy a nationalist and anti-Vietnamese racist has frequently come to clashes with the Hun Sen government, resulting in justified prosecutions, which have always been overturned after Western pressure. Back in 1993 as Minister of Finance, for the Funcinpec and CCP coalition, Sam Rainsy complained to the United Nations that UNTAC had censored the script he a had written for a party political broadcast. The speech which was more an anti-Vietnamese racist rant, rather than a legitimate political speech, frequently used the word “Youn” a derogatory racist word for the Vietnamese.[41]

Referred to the Youn in four points which were the main theme of his party speech Sam Rainsy said:

“These were, firstly, the fact that the present regime was installed by the Youn. Secondly, the regime was therefore indebted to the Youn. And, thirdly, this meant it must give compensation to the Youn. His fourth point was that the leaders of the regime will not pay back the debt themselves but will use the sweat, blood, wealth and territory of Cambodia to pay, in order to stay in power and maintain the support of the Youn.”[42]

Michael Vickery pointed out that the four points used in Sam Rainsy’s speech was straight out of the Khmer Rouge line.[43]

In 2005 Sam Rainsy was sentenced to 18 months in jail and ordered to pay around $14,000 in fines and compensation for defaming Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh and Prime Minister Hun Sen. Judge Chiv Keng said Sam Rainsy had defamed Prince Ranariddh when he told Beehive 105 FM Radio that the National Assembly president had accepted $30 million and an aircraft from Hun Sen to form a coalition government with the CPP in 2004.[44] Chiv Keng went on to state he had also defamed Hun Sen when he filed a lawsuit against the premier alleging that the prime minister planned to have political opponents assassinated and was behind the March 1997 grenade attack on a public rally that left more than a dozen dead and over 120 injured.[45] Just like Mam Sonando conviction seven-years later, the charges were excessive for the charges of slander. Despite this just like his previous time in government in the early 90s, Sam Rainsy was good at stirring political tension and creating political division. The ruling was shortly overturned when Sam Rainsy was issued a royal pardon.

In 2010 Sam Rainsy was prosecuted again sentenced to eleven-years in jail, this time for racial incitement, forging border maps and destroying public property after an October 2009 incident in which he led villagers in uprooting Vietnamese border demarcation posts in Svay Rieng province’s Chantrea district.[46] After receiving a summons to the court Sam Rainsy fled overseas to Paris, until he returned for the 2013 elections and another royal pardon. Despite outcries from human rights organizations and Western governments, along with Sam Rainsy, claiming the prosecution was “politically motivated,” the prosecution was instead completely justified, in what could have developed into a major diplomatic dispute, or even a territorial conflict. According to a US diplomatic cable between the U.S Ambassador to Cambodia Carol Rodney and Washington, even though Sam Rainsy incited the event he did not actually remove the border markers, but was carried out by farmers and other party members when he was on the phone with RFA.[47] However, Rodney points out that Sam Rainsy intentionally obscured the fact in order to use the “limelight” to focus on Cambodia’s demarcation policy and land rights issues.[48] Rodney goes on to criticize Sam Rainsy’s newly formed Sam Rainsy Party commenting  “to show that the “new” cooperative party of just a few months ago has jettisoned any semblance of cooperation, Rainsy has thrown into the mix charges that the CPP is unconcerned about the monarchy, abusive of the constitution, and “subservient” to Vietnamese “expansionist” policies.”[49]

“On November 1, Rainsy publicly denied uprooting any border markers. Since then, however, he has neither confirmed nor denied his own culpability while defending the act of symbolically opposing encroachment. We also learned that two of the six border markers were transported to Phnom Penh and, as of November 13, were in the possession of high-ranking SRP activists. Over the weekend, some in SRP were considering having the marker posts returned, cognizant of the fact the objects were state property.”[50] Said Rodney

Rodney then went on to comment that Sam Rainsy and members of the Sam Rainsy party had used the event for political purposes stirring national and anti-Vietnamese racism.

“In subsequent news accounts and radio interviews, Rainsy and other SRP members have used the highly offensive term “Yuon” to refer to the Vietnamese in an apparent effort to stir up long-standing ethnic mistrust and anti-Vietnamese resentment. Rainsy has volubly equated the situation with Cambodia’s Thai border dispute, also apparently in an effort to ratchet up nationalist sentiment.”

“If the two allegations lead to formal charges, Rainsy could face at least two counts under the 1992 UNTAC Criminal Law: Article 52 on wrongful damage to property, and Article 61 on incitement to provoke national or racial hatred. Each count carries a penalty of jail time up to one year.”

“The Sam Rainsy Party has taken a disruptive approach to a major problem and added toxic elements of racism and anti-Vietnamese sentiment to make it worse. This time, some involved took steps that by all accounts are illegal and disruptive of a sensitive bilateral agreement. At this stage at least, it is unclear whether the proud and unpredictable Sam Rainsy will find a way out of the current self-made tempest, or whether he will appeal to the international community to justify his actions.”[51]

US diplomat Carol Rodney gives a completely different perspective from what Western media and international human rights organizations have always called “political motivated” and “illegal.” Not only does she explicitly state that Sam Rainsy’s actions were completely illegal, but used the event to manipulate political tension stirring racist and nationalist sentiment, and even worse now we know he used the “international community” to “justify his actions.” However, Sam Rainsy’s irresponsible actions are never a Western concern, just like genocide wasn’t during the Khmer Rouge. As long as Western powers achieve their objectives, “by any means possible,” political violence, racism, nationalism or a border conflict are never really a concern. In 2012 Sam Rainsy proved that his nationalistic anti-Vietnamese racism was still alive and well, when he publically called on the Cambodian government to give “full support” for China, over the disputed Paracel and Spratly archipelagos in the South China Sea.[52]

In the lead up to Cambodia’s 2013 elections the Sam Ramsey Party and Kem Sokha’s Human Rights Party formed an electoral alliance to create The Cambodia National Rescue Party. In the run up to the 2013 election the Cambodian government was criticised in June when it expelled 28 lawmakers — 25 legislators from the Sam Rainsy Party and 3 from the Human Rights Party – for violating the Law on Political Parties by simultaneously holding membership in two parties at the same time.[53]

“According to the Law on Political Parties, the article 15 states that a Cambodian citizen must not simultaneously hold membership in more than one political party, but if he/she holds membership in more than one party, his/her membership in the last political party is valid,” Chheang Von chairman of the parliament’s foreign affairs commission said.[54]

The alliance and multi-party membership were purely aimed at bolstering the opposition political position, and the expulsion of lawmakers managed to outrage the US which is backing Sam Rainsy. Despite US outrage the expulsion was completely legal under Cambodian law, justified to insure a fair election and is not just a Cambodian law, but present in other democratic countries.

The US has also complained about accusations and slander from Hun Sen and the Cambodian government against the opposition. Despite this, the usual political circus and mudslinging has already begun between opposition and the government, some 256 complaints alone were filed by political parties against each other in the first three weeks of campaigning.[55] Around ten of these have been classed as violent, the worst being a gunman shooting the windows of Sam Rainsy’s election headquarters on the day he returned home to Cambodia.[56] However, despite this it would be impossible to implicate the government, or even their supporters. The most noticeable case of slander so far has been in relations to Kem Sokha, who previously generated controversy through his comments denying Khmer Rouge war crimes, was attacked in a public speech by Hun Sen.

“I tell you what. Your political life could have been over since my granddaughter’s birthday two years ago, at the end of 2011……that day, I got an urgent phone call to immediately arrest a lawmaker and president of an opposition party. He was taking a 15-year-old girl and had already paid $500 and was taking her to Micasa Hotel near the riverside. I did not authorize his arrest. If I had, he might accuse us of intervening in his personal life,” Hun Sen was reported as saying.[57]

Despite Hun sen not mentioning names, it is thought to have been a reference to Kem Sokha and has been represented in the Cambodian English language press as an act of political slander to discredit the opposition, by calling him a “paedophile” this was later also presented in the same light during the US subcommittee hearing on “Cambodia’s Looming Political and Social Crisis.”[58] The Cambodian Daily even went further to Hun Sen’s comment was an “admission of serious criminal wrongdoing.”[59] Don’t get me wrong if the accusation is correct then Hun Sen would have been complicit for not reporting a crime. However, this would have resulted in the arrest and imprisonment Kem Sokha and a further barrage of abuse, that Hun Sen was imprisoning opposition leaders on trumped up charges. Nonetheless, interestingly even though under the age of eighteen you are classed as a minor in Cambodian law, fifteen is the actual age of consent, so the accusation was never a reference to “paedophilia” as was presented in the media, but more so an accusation of soliciting sex.[60] Kem Sokha and the opposition had previously accused Hun Sen of further attempting to discredit the opposition, when he was summoned to court by a woman who claimed to be his mistress and the mother of two children the pair adopted together.[61]

In context accusations against Kem Sokha seem legitimate, his comments on the Khmer Rouge was recorded, while the accusations of adultery have no evidence that there was any involvement from the Cambodian government and accusations related to soliciting sex seem plausible, unlike some accusations the opposition has thrown at Hun Sen. On the other hand despite allowing Sam Rainsy to return from exile the opposition continues to label Hun Sen as a dictator, carrying out political violence and having no chance of free and fair elections.

Sam Rainsy on the day he returned to Cambodia warned that the elections will be a “sham” unless he is allowed to stand as a candidate. Making references to the Velvet Revolution, or the Arab Revolution Sam Rainsy said “If I can’t participate, after the elections all the Cambodian people will protest and the whole international community will condemn the result and regard this as a sham election,”[62] Australian Network News claims the voter registration list is thought to have 1 million ghost voters, while another 1 million appear to have had their names deleted, amounting to 20 per cent of the electorate.[63] The report which was published by Washington DC based National Democratic Institute, which is funded by the National Endowment for Democracy can be classed as biased and therefore all data has to be viewed with scepticism and quite possibly inaccurate. The Endowment for democracy, which is wing of the Republican Party, funds the International Republic Institute which has been operating with Cambodia’s opposition parties since 1992. The National Endowment for Democracy, the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute, have a long history of meddling in foreign elections and overthrowing democratic government including Haiti and Venezuela.[64] As the organization has direct connections to the opposition and is not a nonpartisan independent body all data would have to be viewed with scepticism and criticism.[65] Claiming election fraud has been an on-going tactic of Sam Ransy and the opposition, and looks more like an attempt to protest the elections if they don’t get their desired result, than any genuine allegation.

Currently Cambodia has seen a peaceful election compared to its violently troubled history, despite this political violence and slander seems to be a balanced affair, with a history of both the government and opposition carrying out tit-for-tat actions in the run up to the elections. The consistent views of both the opposition and Western media, along with Western government is the elections are a zero sum game, either they win the elections and if not the elections are immediately fixed and corrupt. Despite opposition claims of a fixed election, Sam Rainsy is still expecting to run as a candidate. After returning from self-exile and being pardoned by the king, with the help of opposition lawyers and Western influence, he is still hoping for the government to amend the laws or the National Election Committee so he can compete against Hun Sen in the 2013 elections.[66]

A Historical Analysis of Hun Sen

Hun Sen losing the election in 1993 was brought into the political coalition by King Sihanouk, after he was restored as Chief of State by the Constituent Assembly.[67] The coalition created an alliance between the CPP and FUNCINPEC, with Prince Ranariddh and Hun Sen leading the country. The coalition at the time was probably the best decision, without which, political control would have been handed back completely to the Royal Family and Sihanouk. In November 1993 Sihanouk offered the PDK (Khmer Rouge) a role in the government if they ended violence, dissolved their army, and gave up their territory.[68] In May 1994 Sihanouk proposed new elections, which would include the PDK in the national assembly, setting aside the constitution and 1993 elections.[69] Sihanouk’s decision has been viewed as an attempted power grab, a non-unified coalition would have resulted in Sihanouk being about to obtain the same authoritarian power he possessed in the 60s.[70] By July 1994, tensions between Sihanouk and the government came to a head, when Prince Chakrapong and Sin Song were accused of leading a plot to overthrow the government. Chakrapong was allowed to leave the country while other ring leaders were rounded up and tried and most were found guilty.[71] Following the attempted coup, Chakrapong’s fight for power and the PDK refusing to lay down their arms and join the government, the government chose to pass the law banning the PDK.[72]

The passing of the law which was opposed by King Sihanouk, Sam Rainsy and Prince Sirivudh managed to create a division in the government until Rainsy and Sirivudh were removed.[73] After Sam Rainsy was expelled from FUNCINPEC and the Assembly, on the 17 November 1995 Prince Sirivudh, King Sihanouk’s half-brother, who was Secretary-General of the FUNCINPEC party and Foreign Minister from July 1993 to October 1994, was arrested for having made threats to kill Hun Sen. Despite having a tape recording of Sirivudh making the accusations, and carrying out a fair trial within Cambodian law, NGO’s and foreign observers were quick to attack Hun Sen, for what in most countries would have be classed as treason.[74] Sirivudh later left Cambodia into exile returning again in 1999.

In 1997 Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh aligned himself with the Khmer Rouge to boost his support as he prepared for the 1998 general election, angering Hun Sen.[75] By June 1997 internal fighting broke out between military units loyal to rival factions.[76] During Ranariddh visit to Paris on the 4 July and the following day fighting broke out again between forces loyal to both leaders, leading Hun Sen to take full control of the government.[77] Despite it being uncertain who fired the first shot and even America believing that neither side intended to ignite a military conflict, the events were commonly portrayed as Hun Sen’s coup, only strengthened when two high-level FUNCINPEC officials were murdered.[78] Hun Sen who has always maintained his actions were not a coup, remained committed to the government structure inviting FUNCINPEC to name a replacement for Ranariddh. King Sihanouk refused to condemn Hun Sen or support Ranariddh, and in mid-July FUNCINPEC member Ung Hout replaced Ranariddh.[79] Due to Ranariddh seeking support from the Khmer Rouge, the US took an ambiguous approach to the coup.[80] However, Hun Sen, more aligned with China and Vietnam than Western powers, became known as a “Vietnames Puppet” and an obsession for republicans such as Dana Rohrabacher.

US Subcommittee Hearing and the Republican War on Cambodia

Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher in his rousing opening statement said “it’s time for Hun Sen to go, Hun Sen is a corrupt vicious human being, who has held that country in his grip for decades, it’s time for Hun Sen to go”[81]

Throwing out an open question to the subcommittee hearing Rohrabacher asks, does anyone know how much Hun Sen is worth? Human Rights Watch Director, John Sifton responded by suggesting it would be “difficult to answer due to the lack of transparency in Cambodia,” Rohrabacher responded by saying “knowing the Cambodian system and knowing his ability to silence the opposition, let’s say that, he would really take a great deal of integrity for him not to succumb to people who want to give him money, in order to do things.”[82]

Rohrabacher re-wording the question then asked Daniel Mitchell Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of SRP International Group, can people do business in Cambodia without having to pay of the government? Mitchell responded with “absolutely yes, it requires patience it takes longer, but absolutely yes” after spending a few seconds questioning Mitchells statement and integrity, along with trying to get a response that Hun Sen is corrupt, he said “my information about Hun Sen isn’t the case, but I would have to admit you’re on the scene and I ‘m very happy you made a solid statement on it”[83]

“let us remember Mr. Chairmen Hun Sen would not be in power if it was not for the cowardice of the United States. Hun Sen lost the election that was held after the peace agreement in 1993. He lost the election, there was someone else elected prime minister. We had 10,000 United Nations troops on the ground at that time and our ambassador decided, well a compromise would be, there would be two prime ministers, no the compromise was you should have followed what the election was all about and had the person which was elected become the prime minister. So whatever problems we have now with Cambodia can be traced back to our own government, in making sure we stood tall for democratic principles at a time when we could have forced adherence to the democratic process, so know Hun Sen is still there and it’s time for Hun Sen to go”[84]

Coming from a more rational perspective Eni Falemavaega responded to Rohrabacher statements

“Marcos in the Philippines took $8 billion from the Philippines treasury, Suharto Indonesia took $8 billion from the Indonesian treasury, Ho Chi Minh took nothing. He died a simple man and yet boy how we demonized this nationalist leader among the Vietnamese people and he was the most evil person because he was a communist, he was a socialist. All he wanted to do was getting rid of French colonialism that existed among his people. Hun Sen that a good question, I’m gonna help my friend from California (Rohrabache), exactly how much his worth. My impression, Mr. Chairmen is that if he was so rich, I don’t think Cambodia would be in the same situation it’s in now and by the way US laws do prohibit the kickbacks of briberies of officials when are business go overseas to do business….and I think there has been some questions to on the wealthy members of congress, how did they get so wealthy since becoming members of this great institution.”[85]

What was not presented during the subcommittee hearing was that right wing republican Dana Rohrabacher has been at the forefront of Cambodia policy and attempts to overthrow Hun Sen since the end of the Khmer Rouge. Rohrabacher, who served seven years as Reagan’s senior speech writer and played a pivotal role in the formulation of the Reagan Doctrine, has had direct connections to Cambodian policy since the early 80s.

Rohrabache who spent a decade in the Reagan administration supporting and protecting the Khmer Rouge, seems to be working under personal obsession, driven by his own narcissism, contempt for socialism, Xenophobia and Vietnamese and Chinese racism rather than any genuine concern for human rights, or democracy.

Behind Rohrabache’s powerful opening statement that Hun Sen is a “corrupt vicious human being” independent academics and journalists paint quite a different picture. The reality is Cambodia not only has a free and open press, with a healthy functioning democracy, but more so the attack on Cambodia is a mixture of Western propaganda, NGO bias, the International Republican Institute and far right republican’s such as Rohrabache, carrying out a twenty year campaign against Hun Sen and his government.

Michael Vickery says that the official State Department policy on Cambodia since 1993 “has been for collaboration with the Cambodian government.”[86] However, despite this he argues that the State Department is often at times “out-shouted by the extremists, who, although without official backing in the US, have had strong support in the media, in a reactionary coterie of politicians (Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, Senator Mitch McConnell), and, very important in Cambodia, in the activity of the International Republican Institute and broadcasts of the Voice of America.”[87]

Rohrabache in 1999 after Hun Sen took full control of the government, with the help of fellow Senator Jesse Helms, instead of attempting to bring the Khmer Rouge leadership to trial, instead proposed resolution (H.Res. 533) that would try Hun Sen as a “war criminal.”[88] Rohrabache by his own statement to congress chose to go after Hun Sen, who helped overthrow the Khmer Rouge, rather than go after what he described as “a handful of geriatric Khmer Rouge leaders.”[89]

Along with Rohrabache’s hatred of Hun Sen and attempts of hindering the Khmer Rouge genocide investigation he is also a member of the Blue Team. The Blue Team which is an informal term for a group of US neoconservative journalists and politicians, which believe that China is a serious threat to US interests. Rohrabache once said China’s unelected leaders have “no legitimacy,” they must be brought down, like the Soviet Union was.[90] Previously republicans such as Rohrabache were concerned about Vietnamese influence in Cambodia. However, since the US “pivot to Asia,” and China being Cambodia’s largest foreign investor with $9.17 billion of investment between 1994 and 2012, Cambodia has now once again become an integral part of US foreign policy.[91]

On the other hand, Yale’s director of genocide studies and leading investigator into the Cambodian genocide professor Ben Kiernan after being blocked in investigations by leading republican senators and newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal wrote:

“neither Congressional Republicans nor the Wall Street Journal denied that the Cambodian genocide occurred. Rather, they took extraordinary measures to prevent or divert investigation of that genocide. A determined campaign by some of the United States’ most powerful politicians and one of the world’s most powerful newspapers failed.”[92]

The current Western media campaign has been presenting Sam Rainsy as kind of Nelson Mandela, or Aung San Suu Kyi, fighting for democratic rights in a dictatorship, which has been the standard approach since the 1998 elections. Nonetheless, Sam Rainsy, along with other members of the opposition, has never been imprisoned and most of the threats against him have been manufactured by his own actions. Sam Rainsy’s actions in relation to the Vietnamese border posts, was not only illegal, but condemned by the US own diplomat to Cambodia. While, his nationalist and anti-Vietnamese racism is not only completely inappropriate for a politician, but also a worrying sign for future domestic and foreign policy if he should ever come to power. On the other hand, claims by the opposition of media bias are completely inaccurate, not only is there numerous Khmer language media that supports the opposition, but Cambodia’s English language media, along with Western media, is all biased in favour of the Cambodian opposition.

The current situation in Cambodia as presented in the Western media, or presented by Western governments is of a cruel and brutal regime, led by Hun Sen a dictator with an iron grip on power, fiercely crushing any opposition is completely inaccurate. Hun Sen may not be the perfect leader, but he has managed to lead one of the world’s poorest countries, from its dark days of genocide, towards a new future, reconciling its decades of pain. On the other hand the opposition, despite the ways they are presented in the media, are no better than Hun Sen or the Cambodian People’s Party. However, backed by powerful right wing republicans whose objective is to transform Cambodia into a Western satellite state, away from Vietnamese and Chinese influence, I believe Hun Sen when he says “change is a dangerous game.”


[1] Radio Free Asia, “Cambodian Opposition Chief Asked to Seek Compromise” found at: http://www.rfa.org/english/news/cambodia/sam-rainsy-07092013181922.html

[2] Voice of America, “Exiled Opposition Leader Pledges to Return to Cambodia” found at: http://www.voanews.com/content/exiled-opposition-leader-pledges-to-return-to-cambodia/1697173.html

[3] Radio Free Asia, “Sam Rainsy’s Return Puts Focus Back on Cambodia’s Elections” found at: http://www.rfa.org/english/commentaries/east-asia-beat/polls-07152013231218.html

[4]Voice of America, “Exiled Opposition Leader Pledges to Return to Cambodia”

[5] Voice of America, “Cambodian Government Bans Airing of Foreign Radio Programs” found at: http://www.rfa.org/english/news/cambodia/radio-06282013140700.html

[6] Voice of America, “Cambodia Considering Law Outlawing Denial of Khmer Rouge-Era Crimes” found at: http://www.voanews.com/content/cambodia-set-to-pass-law-outlawing-denial-of-khmer-rouge-era-crimes/1676327.html

[7] Radio Free Asia, “Cambodian Opposition Leader Ignores Summons Over Khmer Rouge Remarks” found at: http://www.rfa.org/english/news/cambodia/kem-sokha-06242013190102.html?searchterm=Hun+Sen

[8] Radio Free Asia, “Cambodian Opposition Leader Ignores Summons Over Khmer Rouge Remarks”

[9] Global Times, “Cambodian Khmer Rouge leader finally shows remorse for killings” found at: http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/785676.shtml

[10] Michael Vickery, “Cambodia: A Political Survey” Funan Phnom Penh, Cambodia 2007.

[11] Michael Vickery, “Cambodia: A Political Survey”

[12] Michael Vickery and Ramses Amer, “Democracy and Human Rights in Cambodia” Phnom Penh, Penang, Stockholm 1996. P.16

[13] The International Republican Institute, “Cambodian Youth Are Voices for Change through “Next Generation” Show,” 22 March 2013, found at: http://www.iri.org/news-events-press-center/news/cambodian-youth-are-voices-change-through-%E2%80%9Cnext-generation%E2%80%9D-show

[14] ABC News, “Young activists take to the streets ahead of the Cambodian elections,” found at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-07-21/young-activists-take-to-the-streets-ahead-of-the/4833884

[15] Radio Free Asia, “Hun Sen Accused of ‘Crimes Against Humanity’” found at: http://www.rfa.org/english/news/cambodia/complaint-07032013183524.html

[16] Sam Ramsey, “The Mystery of Cambodia,” found at: http://ki-media.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/the-mystery-of-cambodia-by-sam-serey.html

[17] Sam Ramsey, “The Mystery of Cambodia,”

[18] Khmerization, “International Criminal Court accepts Sourn Serey Ratha’s lawsuit against Hun Sen” Found at: http://khmerization.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/international-criminal-court-accepts.html

[19] Radio Free Asia, “Hun Sen Accused of ‘Crimes Against Humanity’”

[20] Global Witness, “Rubber Barons” found at: http://www.globalwitness.org/rubberbarons/

[21] The Guardian, “Cambodia’s sugar rush leaves farmers feeling bitter at ‘land grab’” found at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/09/cambodia-sugar-land-grab-claims

[22] Wikileaks Cable “CAMBODIA LAND DISPUTES, EVICTIONS CONTINUE,” 9 August 2006, found at: http://www.wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/06PHNOMPENH1426_a.html

[23] Wikileaks Cable “CAMBODIA LAND DISPUTES, EVICTIONS CONTINUE,”

[24] Wikileaks Cable “CAMBODIA LAND DISPUTES, EVICTIONS CONTINUE,”

[25] Wikileaks Cable “CAMBODIA LAND DISPUTES, EVICTIONS CONTINUE,”

[26] May Titthara, “Most land disputes in Cambodia unsettled,” The Phnom Penh Post, 21 February 2013 found at: http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/most-land-disputes-cambodia-unsettled

[27] May Titthara, “Most land disputes in Cambodia unsettled,”

[28] Khmerization, “Phnom Penh Court issued an arrest warrant for Sourn Serey Ratha” 21st December 2012, found at: http://khmerization.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/phnom-penh-court-issued-arrest-warrant.html

[29] KI-Media, “Sourn Serey Ratha broadcasts his message on the Thai Yellow Shirt’s ASTV channel. Why does he use a platform that holds hatred against Khmer?” found at: http://ki-media.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/sourn-serey-ratha-broadcasts-his.html and, Pang Sokheoun, “Analysis: Hun Xen’s political ploy and Sourn Sereyratha a secret agent of Hun Xen?,”Khmerization, found at: http://khmerization.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/analysis-hun-xens-political-ploy-and.html Pang Sokheoun’s opinions are from the perspective of the Cambodian opposition and supporter of Sam Rainsy Party. Presenting himself as a Cambodian nationalist, he denounces the actions Sourn Sereyratha. However, ironically accuses him of being controlled opposition employed by Hun Sen to discredited Sam Rainsy and the opposition, sounding more like American Alex Jones spin.

[30] Banyan Asia, “Give a Little, Take a Little,” the Economist, found at: http://www.economist.com/blogs/banyan/2013/03/justice-cambodia

[31] Banyan Asia, “Give a Little, Take a Little,” the Economist.

[32] Amnesty International, “Cambodia: Opposition leader convicted in flawed trial,” found at: http://www.amnesty.org.au/news/comments/155/

[33] Phnom Penh Post, “The ambassador, the maid and the spankings – end of an envoy,” Phnom Penh Post, 18 August 2000. Found at: http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/ambassador-maid-and-spankings-end-envoy

[34] Phnom Penh Post, “The ambassador, the maid and the spankings – end of an envoy,”

[35] Kenton Clymer, “The United States and Cambodia, 1870-1969: From Curiosity to Confrontation,” Routledge.  P.68.

[36] Kenton Clymer, “The United States and Cambodia, 1870-1969: From Curiosity to Confrontation,” Routledge.  P.68-69.

[37] Kenton Clymer, “The United States and Cambodia, 1870-1969: From Curiosity to Confrontation,” Routledge.  P.78.

[38] Department of State, “Memorandum of Conversation” 1975, found at: http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB193/HAK-11-26-75.pdf

[39] Michael Vickery and Ramses Amer, “Democracy and Human Rights in Cambodia”P.8-9

[40] Michael Vickery and Ramses Amer, “Democracy and Human Rights in Cambodia” P.9

[41] Phnom Penh Post. “Rainsy Bemoans Censorship, UN Cites Racism,” April 23rd 1993, found at: http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/rainsy-bemoans-censorship-un-cites-racism.

[42] Phnom Penh Post. “Rainsy Bemoans Censorship, UN Cites Racism”.

[43] Michael Vickery, “Kicking the Vietnam Syndrome in Cambodia” p.490-491. Found at: http://michaelvickery.org/

[44] Yun Samean ,“Sam Rainsy Sentenced to 18 Months,” Cambodian Daily, found at: http://www.cambodiadaily.com/archive/sam-rainsy-sentenced-to-18-months-1069/

[45] Yun Samean “Sam Rainsy Sentenced to 18 Months,”

[46] Meas Sokchea, “Sam Rainsy appeal to be held today, court official says,” Phnompenh Post, found at: http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/sam-rainsy-appeal-be-held-today-court-official-says

[47] Wikileaks Cable “NATIONAL ASSEMBLY LIFTS SAM RAINSY’S IMMUNITY IN SENSITIVE BORDER CASE,” 16 November 2009, Found at: http://www.wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/09PHNOMPENH847_a.html

[48] Wikileaks Cable “NATIONAL ASSEMBLY LIFTS SAM RAINSY’S IMMUNITY IN SENSITIVE BORDER CASE,”

[49] Wikileaks Cable “NATIONAL ASSEMBLY LIFTS SAM RAINSY’S IMMUNITY IN SENSITIVE BORDER CASE,”

[50] Wikileaks Cable “NATIONAL ASSEMBLY LIFTS SAM RAINSY’S IMMUNITY IN SENSITIVE BORDER CASE,”

[51] Wikileaks Cable “NATIONAL ASSEMBLY LIFTS SAM RAINSY’S IMMUNITY IN SENSITIVE BORDER CASE,”

[52] The Cambodian Herald, “Sam Rainsy urges Cambodia to support China’s claims to South China Sea,” January 23rd 2012. Found at: http://www.thecambodiaherald.com/cambodia/detail/1?page=11&token=Mjk3NDJiOTY4MDdhMDE1NzY1NjEzMWJkNzcxYWJm

[53] Xinua News, “Cambodia defends expulsion of opposition lawmakers from parliament,” July 10th 2013, Found at: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2013-06/10/c_132445822.htm

[54] Xinua News, “Cambodia defends expulsion of opposition lawmakers from parliament,”

[55] The Cambodia Herald, “256 complaints recieved in 1st three weeks of campaigns,” July 18th 2013, found at: http://www.thecambodiaherald.com/cambodia/detail/1?page=15&token=ZGYwM2EyZDAwOTc

[56] The Cambodia Herald, “256 complaints recieved in 1st three weeks of campaigns,”

[57] Neou Vannarin, “Hun Sen Accuses Kem Sokha of Sex With Girl, 15” Cambodian Daily, June 14, 2013, found at: http://www.cambodiadaily.com/elections/hun-sen-accuses-kem-sokha-of-sex-with-girl-15-30960/

[58] Neou Vannarin, “Hun Sen Accuses Kem Sokha of Sex With Girl, 15” Cambodian Daily also see House Committee on Foreign Affairs, “Subcommittee Hearing: Cambodia’s Looming Political and Social Crisis,” found at: http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/hearing/subcommittee-hearing-cambodia%E2%80%99s-looming-political-and-social-crisis

[59] Zsombor Peter and Neou Vannarin, “In Attacking Kem Sokha, Hun Sen Implicates Himself,” Cambodian Daily, June 19, 2013, found at: http://www.cambodiadaily.com/archive/in-attacking-kem-sokha-hun-sen-implicates-himself-31279/

[60] NS/RKM/0208/005, “PREAH BAT SAMDECH PREAH BAROMNEATH NORODOM SIHAMONI” Unofficial Translation: 03/03/08 by UNICEF, found at: http://www.no-trafficking.org/content/Laws_Agreement/cambodia%20new%20law%20on%20trafficking%20&%20sexual%20exploitation%20-%20english.pdf

[61] Meas Sokchea, “Kem Sokha summonsed to appear in court Friday,” The Phnompenh, 16 July 2013, found at: http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/kem-sokha-summonsed-appear-court-friday

[62] The Cambodian Herald, “Cambodian opposition leader warns of ‘sham’ election” 20 July 2013. Found at: http://www.thecambodiaherald.com/cambodia/detail/1?page=11&token=MWNmNjM0NzA1YTI

[63] Robert Carmichael, “Cambodia’s exiled opposition leader returns,” Australia Network News, 19 July 2013. found at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-07-19/cambodia-exiled-opposition-leader-set-to-return/4830210 see also National Democratic Institute, “Report on the Voter Registry Audit (VRA) in Cambodia 2013,” found at: http://www.ndi.org/files/Cambodia-Voter-Registry-Audit-2013.pdf

[64] Benjamin Duncan, Al Jazeera, “Venezuela: What is the National Endowment for Democracy up to?,” Venezuela Analysis, 4 May 2004 found at: http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/491 also see Joshua Kurlantzick “The Coup Connection,” Mother Jones, November/December 2004, found at: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2004/11/coup-connection

[65] Michael Vickery, “Kicking the Vietnam Syndrome in Cambodia”

[66] Radio Free Asia, “Lawyers Try to Find a Way for Sam Rainsy to Contest Elections” 16th July 2013 found at: http://www.rfa.org/english/news/cambodia/contest-07162013193422.html

[67] Kenton Clymer, “The United States and Cambodia 1969-2000: A Troubled Relationship,” Routledge, 2004. p.163-164.

[68] Michael Vickery and Ramses Amer, “Democracy and Human Rights in Cambodia,” p.8

[69] Michael Vickery and Ramses Amer, “Democracy and Human Rights in Cambodia,” p.8

[70] Michael Vickery and Ramses Amer, “Democracy and Human Rights in Cambodia,” p.8

[71] Michael Vickery and Ramses Amer, “Democracy and Human Rights in Cambodia,” p.8

[72] Michael Vickery and Ramses Amer, “Democracy and Human Rights in Cambodia,” p.8

[73] Michael Vickery and Ramses Amer, “Democracy and Human Rights in Cambodia,” p.8

[74] Michael Vickery and Ramses Amer, “Democracy and Human Rights in Cambodia,” p.9

[75] Kenton Clymer, “The United States and Cambodia 1969-2000: A Troubled Relationship,” p.167

[76] Kenton Clymer, “The United States and Cambodia 1969-2000: A Troubled Relationship,” p.167

[77] Kenton Clymer, “The United States and Cambodia 1969-2000: A Troubled Relationship,” p.167

[78] Kenton Clymer, “The United States and Cambodia 1969-2000: A Troubled Relationship,” p.167 see also Joseph J. Zasloff, “Emerging Stability in Cambodia,” Asian Affairs, Vol. 28, No. 4 (Winter, 2002), pp. 190.

[79] Kenton Clymer, “The United States and Cambodia 1969-2000: A Troubled Relationship,” p.168

[80] Kenton Clymer, “The United States and Cambodia 1969-2000: A Troubled Relationship,” p.168

[81] House Committee on Foreign Affairs

[82] House Committee on Foreign Affairs

[83] House Committee on Foreign Affairs

[84] House Committee on Foreign Affairs

[85] House Committee on Foreign Affairs

[86] Michael Vickery, “Kicking the Vietnam Syndrome in Cambodia” p.XIV

[87] Michael Vickery, “Kicking the Vietnam Syndrome in Cambodia” p.XIV

[88] Ben Kiernan, “Bringing the Khmer Rouge to Justice,” Yale University, P.102 found at: http://www.yale.edu/cgp/BringingtheKhmerRougetoJustice2000-1.pdf

[89] Statement by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Ca) on the House floor, October 10, 1998, quoted in

Indochina Interchange 9:1 (Winter 1999), found at: http://www.ffrd.org/interchange/vol9iss1/letter.html

[90] Greg Rushford, “In Search of an Enemy,” The Rushford Report Archives, August, 2002: The Yankee Trader, found at: http://www.rushfordreport.com/2002/8_2002_Yankee_trader.htm

[91] Heng Pheakdey, “Chinese investment and aid in Cambodia a controversial affair,” East Asia Forum, 16 July 2013, found at: http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2013/07/16/chinese-investment-and-aid-in-cambodia-a-controversial-affair/

[92] Ben Kiernan, “Bringing the Khmer Rouge to Justice,”

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