A lawyer for the Interior Ministry yesterday said the ministry’s request to the Supreme Court to have the opposition CNRP dissolved was separate from the treason case against the party’s leader Kem Sokha.
Mr Sokha was last month charged over comments made in 2013 video footage from Australia-based CBN news, which showed him saying the US government had been helping him to push for regime change in Cambodia since 1993.
On Friday, the Interior Ministry filed a request to the Supreme Court to have the CNRP dissolved, following complaints filed against it by the Funcinpec Party and Cambodian Youth Party.
However, a ministry lawyer, who is also a member of the council of jurists and who declined to be named, told Khmer Times yesterday that the two cases were separate from each other, but noted the video footage of Mr Sokha formed one part of at least 21 bundles of evidence in the case to dissolve the CNRP.
“I think one important point to stress is that people confuse the two cases,” he said.
“There are two separate cases. One is the treason charge against Kem Sokha and the second is the complaint for the dissolution of the CNRP. Again, Kem Sokha’s case is based on the criminal code.
“Dissolution of the CNRP is based on the Law of Political Parties.”
He noted that the 21 bundles of evidence included video clips, email communications and reports of secret training sessions for activists. Some were based on public information such as what happened after the 2013 general election and in 2014, he added.
“There is one very important piece of evidence, the training of approximately 16 activists in Indonesia, funded by the Taiwanese organisation CANVAS, and the documents we obtained revealed the training and the steps to prepare a colour revolution in Cambodia.
“Their plan was that upon their return, they were to teach all activists in every province about the strategy they learned in Indonesia.
“The words we use most is colour revolution model and most of our evidence followed the idea of the Yugoslav revolution,” he said.
“And so the video clip of Kem Sokha’s actions is one of the parts of the evidence and so that video is the starting point. When we try to figure out what can be the strategy, what can be the stakes made by them, then we can see that all their plans, all their actions in the past, conform with the idea, the plan of the colour revolution in Cambodia.
“We use the procedure of the Supreme Court,” he added. “It will be composed of nine judges, the full bench. We will present our evidence in hand.
“The court will follow the criminal procedure code and according to the criminal procedure code, the CNRP lawyers will have to submit their defence and I think that the court will provide the evidence to the other side.
“They have 20 days to answer. Then we can make further submissions and also some evidence.”
CNRP lawmaker Mu Sochua, who fled the country, said she did not fear the dissolution of her party.
“We’re not afraid of them dissolving the party,” she told the South China Morning Post last week. “Let them dissolve the party, you fight to the very end. And it’s that fight that is symbolic.”
Political analyst Meas Ny said he was bemused as to why the Interior Ministry was taking cues from two political parties to dissolve the CNRP, which would translate to a government shutdown.
“Lawyers for the government, they do not need to try to do anything and they will win, so in the CNRP dissolution case, it will lead to the government being dissolved, the NEC being dissolved, so I really don’t understand it,” he said.
The Interior Ministry lawyer rejected these statements and explained that the act to dissolve the CNRP has no bearing on the government, but rather only the CNRP as if they were found guilty, they will lose everything, including the recently won commune chief positions as well.
“The dissolution of the CNRP is based on the Law on Political Parties. The basis for the complaint is based on the revised Article 6 and Article 7. The Interior Ministry based their request on the new Article 44 of the same Law on Political Parties.”
He added that the Ministry of Interior’s action was based on the complaints of the two political parties and stressed that a request to dissolve a party can be made by anyone.
However, the request was submitted by the Ministry of Interior. Any evidence or request can be submitted to the Ministry of Interior and then it is up to the ministry to check whether there are valid grounds to submit the request to the Supreme Court.