Chea Sim and Human Rights Watch

[Sent to the Phnom Penh Post on 10 June 2015. Not published.]

Concerning your lead story on Wednesday (“Sim’s KR role scrutinised”), it seems strange that the Post gave it such prominence – or even covered it at all.

The only information in it that might be considered “news” on a very slow day is the fact that Human Rights Watch had the incredibly bad taste to use the occasion of Chea Sim’s death to repeat 10-year-old accusations against him that the Khmer Rouge tribunal long ago determined should not be pursued.

But that’s all due to Hun Sen’s manipulation, says HRW, also a repetition of old unsupported accusations. If you look in the Post archives for the issue of 13-26 September 2002, you will find an article in which HRW’s current Asia director, Brad Adams, argued that Hun Sen was not going to permit any trials with UN participation. This says a great deal about how much credence should be given to HRW’s accusations and recycled press releases.