I have not understood the amnesty given by the King to be a blanket one but limited to cover any prosecution according to the 1994 law against Khmer Rouge and the sentence passed as a result of the 1979 trial. This should not prevent any procedure to establish a truth commission. Also , to me it is clear that the 1979 process had shortcomings and should not be seen as the final judicial answer to the standards, arrests and prosecutions on the basis of objective evidence and within the law. I am concerned that procedures were not respected in this case. I will follow the further development with keen interest.
Question: Do you see any connection, between cases of torture and the fact that we are coming closer to elections?
No, I have not made that connection. Some of the cases reported have been relating to people suspected of having Khmer Rouge relations. In other cases
there seem not to have been a political aspect. One pattern, however, seems to be that the policemen feel compelled to get a confession and that within 48
tours, that is before the suspect is to be brought to the court. The police is
lot well educated in obtaining other evidence than a confession. Also, there
Is not sufficient disincentive against violent interrogation.
Question: How would you react to a decision to postpone the elections?
The national elections should be held next year. That is an agreement and a promise. I am aware of the risk of human rights violations in the midst of the election fever, that campaigning could get out of hand. But that has to be prevented through agreements on the rules of the game between the parties, mature political leadership and an effective and a human rights-oriented policy for law and order.
The elections should be -- and be seen to be -- genuinely free and fair.
An independent mechanism, an election commission, is needed to guarantee this. In fact, I found the speech that co-Minister of Interior Sar Kheng gave in November 1995 a good inventory of necessary steps to ensure free and fair elections. However, implementation has been delayed. Remember that the right to political participation is an important human right.
Question: So, you see no reason to postpone the elections?
No reason that stands out as convincing.