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PM States He Filed Lawsuit Against Sam Rainsy in France Because of His Own Innocence

PHNOM PENH: Prime Minister Hun Sen has stated that he filed a lawsuit against Sam Rainsy in France in order to seek justice for his own innocence, and as a result, he has now won that suit.

While speaking at the graduation ceremony for Phnom Penh International University students on Tuesday morning, 11 October, the Prime Minister said, "What does Hun Sen want? Why follow you all the way to your house? Hun Sen wants to be proven innocent, there is nothing [more] to be desired."

Announcing the French court’s verdict to students and citizens watching the Tuesday morning broadcast, Prime Minister Hun Sen thanked the French court for giving him justice. Three points made by the French court which the Prime Minister highlighted included the assertion that the Prime Minister was not behind Hok Lundy's death and that Sam Rainsy did indeed defame the Prime Minister with no evidence to support his argument.

“What I have given the world to accept... the court that is called justice [has] recognized," he said. "You accused me of killing my in-law, Hok Lundy, and not just any in-law! [Two of my children married two of his children.] Now you [still] continue to accuse and declare success in your heart.”

On Monday night, 10 October, opposition leader Sam Rainsy made a post on his Facebook page citing a statement from his lawyer that said he had been acquitted by a Paris court in connection to the Prime Minister's lawsuit.

The cited letter read, "By declaring that Sam Rainsy is innocent, the French court solemnly acknowledged that Sam Rainsy's struggle was justified and that the court protected his right to freedom of expression.”

The Prime Minister read out this verdict and stated that "Sam Rainsy's release was only due to the court's favor" because the Prime Minister led a country with rights while Sam Rainsy is only a citizen.

"Under these conditions, the criminal prosecution may affect the imbalance of the right to freedom of expression between the plaintiff and the accused, which is protected by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, so that Sam Rainsy will receive exemption from both charges," said Prime Minister Hun Sen.

"They use the word ‘favor,’ [and yet] you explained it [as if] you had won!"

The Prime Minister said that Sam Rainsy's only success was not paying a single Euro in damages that the Prime Minister had asked for, but the Prime Minister’s success was proving his innocence, something which he had been waiting for since 2019.

The Prime Minister added that he hopes those who were fooled by Sam Rainsy can reconsider this case.

"If I did what they claim, I would not have been freed," he said. "I would be imprisoned for life and have to pay a lawyer as the defendant, think about it! [Sam Rainsy’s] supporters should consider this case. I just needed to reinstate my innocence, and now my innocence has been reinstated.”

Prime Minister Hun Sen also said that as a plaintiff, he would not be further appealing this case because he was satisfied with the final verdict which stated that he was not guilty of what Sam Rainsy had alleged. However, the Prime Minister said he will welcome the opportunity if Sam Rainsy wishes to continue this case in the Court of Appeal.

Political science professor, Em Sovannara, has said that the case involving Prime Minister Hun Sen and Sam Rainsy, as they both presented it, shows the same result. The Prime Minister was acquitted, and Sam Rainsy was acquitted as well. He expressed interest in the French court's ruling, which focused on respect for freedom of expression. 

He said, "From a political point of view, we see that Sam Rainsy's accusations are not accurate, not good, and the court does not charge him. The right to express one's opinion led both politicians to see the same result.”

Prime Minister Hun Sen and Dy Vichea's lawsuit against Sam Rainsy was filed in a court in Paris, France on 20 August 2019, where an investigative judge ruled to convict Sam Rainsy on “public defamation charges against an individual” on 8 June 2020.

Prime Minister Hun Sen filed the lawsuit against Sam Rainsy because of a message he posted on his Facebook page and an interview he did with the Voice of America, where Rainsy accused the Prime Minister of being the mastermind behind the murder of Hok Lundy and said that he had also ordered the killing of Chea Vichea, who was leader of the Free Trade Union of Workers in Cambodia. 

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