Phnom Penh (FN), Jan. 18 – The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Cambodia to the UN Office at Geneva is disturbed with, and deplores the Press Release by three Special Rapporteurs dated 17 January 2020, which is politically motivated and totally intending to mislead the public as to the nature of the ongoing trial of the accused Kem Sokha, according to the statement released on 17 January 2020.

“As in the past, the Permanent Mission deeply regrets the professional misconduct of the said so-called experts, not being UN staff members and serving in their personal capacity, who self-represent as a judge in an internal judicial affair of a sovereign state,” the statement said.

“The Permanent Mission wishes to remind them that in Cambodia, similar to other democratic societies, law-breakers can be charged and prosecuted on the basis of offenses they have committed, and not on the basis of their political status. Being a political figure, whether or not bearing an opposition tag, does not entitle the person to act with impunity. A crime committed cannot be justified by some personal or political motive,” it continued.

On 17 January, UN human rights experts expressed concerns about the treason trial that opened this week against Cambodia’s court-dissolved opposition leader Kem Sokha, saying the entire process from the allegation itself to the conduct of the trial is beset by irregularities, according to the UNHR press release.

The UN experts are Ms Rhona Smith, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia; Mr. David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and Mr. Diego García-Sayán, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers.