Cambodia’s National Assembly Calls the European Parliament’s Resolution on Kem Sokha a Lack of Respect for the Country’s Independence

Kem Sokha, former leader of the now-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), greets people as he leaves the Phnom Penh Municipal Court after attending his treason trial in Phnom Penh on October 19, 2022. Photo by TANG CHHIN Sothy / AFP

PHNOM PENH — The National Assembly has expressed “its disappointment” following the European Parliament’s resolution calling for the release of former opposition leader Kem Sokha recently sentenced to 27 years of house arrest.

In a statement issued on March 17, the National Assembly described the European Parliament’s resolution approved on March 16 as being disrespectful of the independence and sovereignty of Cambodia.

“We reject the said Resolution, which in essence is a flagrant violation of the sovereign right of a member State of the United Nations,” the National Assembly’s statement read.

Regarding this resolution, the statement read, the National Assembly has taken a firm stance in conformity with the responses and statements made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which stressed that “[c]rime is a crime, and it cannot be justified for other aspirations.”

On March 16, the European Union parliament approved a resolution calling for the release of Kem Sokha and, the resolution read, “all opposition officials and activists convicted or detained on politically motivated charges.”  

The National Assembly categorically rejected the accusations listed in the resolution, saying that this was the work of leftist parliamentarian groups in the European parliament, and constituted political abuse and interference in Cambodia’s internal affairs.

In its statement, the National Assembly urged all European parliamentarians to try to promote a “sincere, open, and inclusive dialogue” with Cambodia in a spirit of mutual respect, trust, understanding, and interest for peace, coexistence, and mutual prosperity.

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