PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) - Cambodia's prime minister has established a special commission to investigate the long-unsolved killings of three labor leaders.
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodia's prime minister has established a special commission to investigate the long-unsolved killings of three labor leaders.
It was unclear why Prime Minister Hun Sen would revive the murder cases, which sparked international accusations of impunity for human rights abuses under his government — a concern that remains today. Hun Sen has led Cambodia since 1985 with a combination of guile, threat and violence, though in recent years he has tried to establish himself as regional statesman.
A directive dated June 10 and circulated to the media on Thursday orders several government ministries and departments to probe the murders of Chea Vichea and Ros Sovannarith in 2004 and Hy Vuthy in 2007. The commission is to report its findings to international organizations concerned with labor issues.
Chea Vichea was president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, and the other slain men headed factory chapters of the union.
Labor unions have been in the forefront of the political opposition to Hun Sen, and remain a thorn in his side. When factory workers took to the street in January last year to demand a higher minimum wage, they were met with deadly force by police and serious legal charges against their leaders.
Chea Vichea's brother Chea Muny, who succeeded him as union chief, said he doubted justice would be achieved by the commission because it has no members from outside government.
Convictions were obtained in the cases of the killings of Chea Vichea and Hy Vuthy, but government critics said those found guilty were scapegoats and their sentences were later overturned. The two men imprisoned for Chea Vichea's killing were in jail for almost six years before being released when the Supreme Court overturned their convictions for lack of evidence.