Cambodia. For a long time, the first verdict came against a leader in the Communist Red Khmer terrorist regime in Cambodia in the 1970s. It had been over 30 years since the regime’s fall and four years since the UN-backed tribunal began its work.
According to COUNTRYAAH, Cambodia has a population of 16.25 million (2018). Kang Kek Ieu, known by the name of Duch, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for murder, torture and crimes against humanity. Duch was the head of a hearing center in Phnom Penh where thousands of people were tortured and executed; almost no one survived. He admitted at the beginning of the trial but then asked to be acquitted. According to the judgment, the now 67-year-old Duch only has to serve 19 years, since he has been detained since 1999 and also received a “discount” for his cooperation. The judgment was appealed by both parties.
Duch was not considered the top tier of the Red Khmer, unlike four others in the Tribunal’s detention: Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith. In September, the formal charges against them were presented for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.
Parliament voted in March for a law of corruption. The opposition and human rights organizations felt that the law was inadequate and called for an independent monitoring body, separate from the government party. UN envoy Douglas Broderick advocated more debate about the law, which led to the government being threatened with deportation because of “unacceptable interference” in the country’s internal affairs. In international comparisons, Cambodia is usually at the bottom of Asia’s countries in the area of corruption.
Opposition leader Sam Rainsy was sentenced to imprisonment during the year for his absence. The background was protests against a settlement that the government has entered into with Vietnam on the border demarcation between the countries. The settlement led to some Cambodians losing their land. Rainsy took their case and was sentenced in January to two years in prison for inciting people to remove new border markings. In September, he was sentenced to ten years in prison for tampering with an official map to show that Vietnam had invaded the country’s territory. Rainsy was in France.
Neighboring Thailand announced in August that diplomatic relations with Cambodia would be resumed. The message came after Thailand’s deposed former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra resigned as financial adviser to the Phnom Penh government. In his absence, Thaksin has been sentenced to prison for corruption in his home country. Relations between the two countries are also strained due to a border dispute.
After extensive strikes and protests among mainly women textile workers, the government agreed to raise the minimum wage, with the equivalent of just under SEK 40 a month. The unrest continued even after that, in protest of the continued low salary of around SEK 400 a month. Several hundred women were eventually fired for striking. The clothing industry accounts for 85 percent of Cambodia’s exports and produces garments for many chains, including Swedish H&M.
One day’s grief was announced in November following a disaster in which around 350 people were killed during a festival in Phnom Penh. Panic arose on a narrow bridge when the congestion became too great; most victims were crushed to death.
Red Khmer capitulates
Red Khmer was split in August 1996; a faction led by Ieng Sary refused to obey orders from the main faction. The outbreaks, with the gemstones of Pailin as their economic base, went to the government. Ieng Sary was granted amnesty after previously being sentenced to death in absentia.
In 1997, Pol Pot was sentenced to life imprisonment of his own in Red Khmer, and died the following year. The remnants of the Red Khmer forces, with Ta Mok as chief, capitulated in 1999. After years of international pressure, Hun Sens’s government and the UN finally agreed in 2003 to appoint a few Red Khmer leaders for a joint Cambodian-international war crimes court.
The 1998 and 2003 elections
Norodom Ranariddh negotiated a peace treaty with the Red Khmer in 1997, but Prime Minister Hun Sen deposed him by an armed coup. The following year, the prince was sentenced to prison in absentia, but was pardoned by his father and allowed to return before the 1998 elections. Here, Hun Sen won a trick victory. The two political rivals finally agreed on a new distribution of power. She Sen should now be the only prime minister in the coalition government, while Ranariddh was given the role of president of parliament. She Sen further tightened the grip on power in the 2003 elections.
In October 2004, King Norodom abdicated Sihanouk for the second time and handed over the royal capacity to son Norodom Sihamoni, who had been living in Paris for over 20 years.
The leader of the third largest party, Sam Rainsy, went into exile in 2005 after being deprived of parliamentary immunity and suing the court for alleged libel against Hun Sen. In his absence he was sentenced to 18 months in prison, but was pardoned by King Sihamoni and then returned. In 2006, Parliament decided to abolish imprisonment for libel after a number of opposition sentenced libel cases.
She Sen tightens the grip
In the April 2007 local elections, Cambodia’s People’s Party (CPP), with Hun Sen as party leader, won a majority in 1592 of the country’s 1621 municipalities. Sam Rainsy’s party increased its majority municipalities from 13 to 27, largely at the expense of the country’s royalist party, Funcinpec, which was torn down by bitter factional struggles. This time, the royalists gained control of only two municipalities. A breakaway faction led by Prince Norodom Ranariddh, former prime minister and party chief, did not win a single municipality.
Prince Ranariddh had been sentenced in March 2007 to 18 months in absentia for alleged financial crimes. Among other things, he must have wanted to sell Funsinpec’s party headquarters with a view to his own gain.
She Sen took an even firmer grip on power when his CPP seized 90 out of a total of 123 seats in the July 2008 parliamentary elections, a 17-point increase from 2003. Sam Rangsi Party again marked itself as the largest opposition party with 26 seats. Only two royalists came in. CCP has been on the Board for a long period of stability and significant economic growth; At the same time, the gap between poor and rich and between city and country has widened.