UN envoy seeks coup violence probe

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 September, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 September, 1997, 12:00am

The United Nations special envoy to Cambodia on human rights has called for a wide-ranging and impartial inquiry into violence surrounding July's coup by Hun Sen.

Thomas Hammarberg is in Phnom Penh for talks over extra-judicial killings and torture, which he said had followed the toppling of Prince Norodom Ranariddh.

'I am asking him [Mr Hun Sen] or the Government to initiate criminal investigations into each of the [execution] cases, said the envoy, whose staff have reported close to 40 extrajudicial killings of Prince Ranariddh's officials in the wake of the coup,' he said.

'[I want them] to set up a comprehensive inquiry into the overall situation, an impartial inquiry to look at everything that happened when it comes to human rights in July.

'Including the indiscriminate shooting which caused casualties among the civilian population, reports about torture, reports about executions . . . [I want] to give recommendations of what can be done to ascertain that this can never happen again.' Mr Hammarberg made his call after meeting the country's newly elected First Prime Minister Ung Huot and said he would meet this week with King Norodom Sihanouk but was still unsure about when he would meet Mr Hun Sen.

The envoy called for the Government to make available to UN workers a list of political prisoners and of official detention and cremation centres.

Mr Hammarberg said during the July violence monks in pagodas in the capital had been called on to 'unofficially burn bodies' of those killed.