Monday, April 12, 2010

Marking of VN border to continue despite SRP

12 April 2010
Meas Sokche
Phnom Penh Post

HE Constitutional Council on Friday dismissed a request by the opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) that the government suspend joint demarcation of the Cambodia-Vietnam border, saying the request did not fall under its jurisdiction.

When contacted Sunday, Pen Thol, spokesman for the nine-member council, did not comment in detail, saying the council’s decision spoke for itself.

“I can’t comment over this, because it is a decision of the Constitutional Council. [The SRP] has the right to say what it wants,” he said.

On Wednesday, 14 SRP lawmakers sent a letter to Council President Ek Sam Ol, asking him to postpone the planting of border posts pending an investigation into the party’s claims that four border marker posts in Svay Rieng province’s Chantrea district lie up to 500 metres inside Cambodia’s legal territory.

Sam Rainsy has already been jailed for two years following an incident in which he joined villagers in uprooting six temporary border markers in the area.

SRP spokesman Kimsour Phirith said the Constitutional Council’s ruling was a result of political “bias”, noting that most of its members are members of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).

“We knew that the Constitutional Council was mostly composed by the CPP and therefore the decision must be politically biased,” he said. “But we must do it to show Cambodians that the law was not enforced properly as the system requires.”

Kimsour Phirith said the planting of Vietnamese border posts violated Article 2 of the Constitution, which pledges the government to protect the country’s territorial integrity.

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