CNRP Political Ban Lifts, Says Supreme Court Official

10 min read
Supporters of the outlawed opposition CNRP gather outside the Tbong Khmum Provincial Court in Suong City on September 22, 2020. (Michael Dickison/VOD)

A Supreme Court official said 118 former CNRP officials would regain their political rights Wednesday and do not need to file any paperwork to make official their return to politics.

Five years ago, the Supreme Court had dissolved the opposition CNRP and banned 118 of its senior officials from participating in politics. The ban was for five years and will end on Wednesday, according to Supreme Court spokesperson Ouk Kimsith.

The court official said the 118 people will automatically regain their political rights and are not required to submit requests to the court or any other government agency. However, they could face legal consequences for any other “offenses” they have committed in the interim.

“The ban ends but punishment based on their actions in new offenses will be implemented,” Kimsith said.

Despite the Supreme Court ban, the government had created an ad hoc amnesty scheme for former CNRP politicians to rejoin politics, which was used by some political leaders, like Candlelight Party vice president Son Chhay, to join a possibly resurgent political opposition.

However, senior leaders such as former CNRP president Sam Rainsy have been given permanent bans by courts as part of convictions for various alleged crimes.

Government lawyer Ly Chantola, who was part of the November 2017 court hearing, could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Candlelight president Teav Vannol said a few former CNRP officials had indicated they were interested in joining the party after the ban expired, but had yet to receive any formal requests.

“The Candlelight Party is a democratic party. So, we welcome all political tendencies that have ideas abiding to democratic principles,” he said. “We are happy and we will have even more democratic force.”

Vannol added that the five-year ban was unjust but there was little opposition officials could do because the ruling had come from the country’s highest court. He said that while the 118 have finished their ban, Kem Sokha, who the government has accused of fomenting a revolution, was yet to be convicted of any crime.

Few opposition politicians are hopeful that their return to politics will make any difference in the upcoming 2023 election.

“If we participate with the Candlelight Party or any other party, I think it means nothing [and won’t] let us help the nation and the people. I think like this because I’ve monitored and observed from one party to another. … They just strengthen their voices and that can’t help our nation,” said Prak Savoan, a former CNRP select committee member.

As he recuperates from Covid-19, Hun Sen continued his attacks on the opposition. He took to Facebook on Tuesday night to lambast Rainsy, whose family has been the target of the prime minister’s ire in the last few weeks.

Hun Sen was seemingly reacting to Rainsy’s comments on social media alleging that Army commander and Hun Sen’s son Hun Manet was attempting to cajole favor with Cambodian expatriates, including an allegation that he was using $5 million to buy the support of Cambodian expatriates in Europe.

“Do you dare [to bet] the son of the three generations of traitors [that this is true]? The family line is bad, it will still be bad,” Hun Sen said in a Facebook post.

The 118

Based on publicly available information.

Amnestied

Active in Opposition

Kong Korm
Senior Adviser to CNRP
Received amnesty. Joined the Khmer Will Party, which will “unite” with Candlelight.
Amnesty | Active
Muth Chantha
Member of Steering Committee
Granted political amensty. Aide to Kem Sokha.
Amnesty | Active
Ou Chanrath MP
Member of Permanent Committee
Granted political amnesty. Founder of the Cambodia Reform Party.
Amnesty | Active
Phann Chansak
Member of Steering Committee
Former CNRP lawyer, received amnesty alongside Pol Ham with plans to join the Cambodia Reform Party.
Amnesty | Active
Pol Ham MP
Vice President
Granted political amnesty. With the Cambodia Reform Party.
Amnesty | Active
Pot Poeu MP
Member of Steering Committee
Received amnesty. Joined Candlelight Party.
Amnesty | Active
Real Camerin MP
Member of Steering Committee
Granted political amnesty. Founded the Khmer Conservative Party.
Amnesty | Active
Son Chhay MP
Member of Permanent Committee
Granted political amnesty. Vice president of Candlelight.
Amnesty | Active
Thach Setha
Member of Permanent Committee
Granted political amnesty. Vice president of Candlelight.
Amnesty | Active
Uch Serey Yuth MP
Member of Steering Committee
Received amnesty and joined the Candlelight Party.
Amnesty | Active
Yem Ponhearith MP
Member of Permanent Committee
Granted political amnesty. Founder of Kampucheaniyum Party.
Amnesty | Active

Defected

Sun Sopheak
Member of Steering Committee
Received amnesty and defected to the CPP in January 2021.
Amnesty | Defected
Chiv Cata MP
Member of Steering Committee
Left the Cambodia Love Party and now works for the government.
Defected
Kang Kimhak MP
Member of Steering Committee
Left the Cambodia Love Party and now works for the government.
Defected
Kong Bora MP
Member of Steering Committee
Defected to the CPP. Works at the Agriculture Ministry.
Defected | Active
Ly Sreyvyna MP
Member of Steering Committee
Granted amensty and returned to medical practice. Defected to the CPP.
Amnesty | Inactive

Situation Unascertained

Chan Cheng MP
Member of Steering Committee
Received amnesty.
Amnesty
Chan Sela
Member of Steering Committee
Received amnesty.
Amnesty
Chum Chandarin
Member of Steering Committee
Received amnesty.
Amnesty
Ket Khy
Member of Steering Committee
Received amnesty.
Amnesty
Khim Lucky
Member of Steering Committee
Received amnesty.
Amnesty
Lath Littay MP
Member of Steering Committee
Received amnesty.
Amnesty
Long Kimkhorn
Member of Steering Committee
Received amnesty.
Amnesty
Mao Sophal
Chairman of Takeo Executive Committee
Received amnesty.
Amnesty
Muth Morla
Chairman of Siem Reap Executive Committee
Received amnesty.
Amnesty
Prak Yi (or Prak Yikan)
Member of Steering Committee
Received amnesty.
Amnesty
Sim Sovanny (or Sim Vanny)
Member of Steering Committee
Received amnesty.
Amnesty
Sun Chanthy
Chairman of Kg. Thom Executive Committee
Received amnesty.
Amnesty
Tao Kimchhun
Member of Steering Committee
Received amnesty.
Amnesty
Tep Sothy MP
Member of Steering Committee
Received amnesty.
Amnesty
Tuot Khoeut MP
Member of Steering Committee
Received amnesty.
Amnesty
Va Samon
Member of Steering Committee
Received amnesty.
Amnesty
Yang Phannet
Member of Steering Committee
Received amnesty.
Amnesty

Convicted

Overseas

Eng Chhai Eang MP
Vice President
Convicted. In exile overseas.
Convicted | Overseas
Heng Danaro MP
Member of Steering Committee
Convicted in mass trial.
Convicted | Overseas
Ho Vann MP
Member of Permanent Committee
Convicted. In exile overseas.
Convicted | Overseas
Isa Osman
Member of Steering Committee
Convicted, is overseas.
Convicted | Overseas
Kong Saphea MP
Member of Steering Committee
Convicted. In exile overseas.
Convicted | Overseas
Long Botta MP
Member of Steering Committee
Convicted. In exile overseas.
Convicted | Overseas
Long Ry MP
Member of Permanent Committee
Convicted. In exile overseas.
Convicted | Overseas
Mao Vibol
Chairman of Svay Rieng Executive Committee
Convicted in mass trial, is overseas.
Convicted | Overseas
Men Sothavarin MP
Member of Permanent Committee
Convicted. In exile overseas.
Convicted | Overseas
Mu Sochua MP
Vice President
Convicted. In exile overseas.
Convicted | Overseas
Nuth Rumduol MP
Member of Steering Committee
Convicted. In exile overseas.
Convicted | Overseas
Ou Chanrith MP
Member of Permanent Committee
Convicted. In exile overseas.
Convicted | Overseas
Tioulong Saumura MP
Member of Permanent Committee
Convicted. In exile overseas.
Convicted | Overseas
Tok Vanchan MP
Member of Permanent Committee
Convicted. In exile overseas.
Convicted | Overseas

In Prison

Keo Thai
Chairman of Kg. Chhnang Executive Committee
Convicted and in prison.
Convicted | In Prison

Location Unascertained

Chea Chiv
Chairman of Battambang Executive Committee
Convicted in mass trial.
Convicted
Niv Chamroeun
Member of Steering Committee
Convicted in mass trial.
Convicted

On Trial

Kem Sokha MP
President
On trial for treason.
On Trial
Morn Phalla
Chairman of Phnom Penh Executive Committee
A defendant in the fourth mass trial.
On Trial

Active as Lawyer

Choung Chou Ngy
Member of Steering Committee
Took a break from taking on political cases, before defending many Sam Rainsy allies in court. Recently announced he wants to join the Candlelight Party once his ban lifts.
Active | Lawyer
Meng Sopheary
Member of Steering Committee
Kem Sokha’s defense lawyer.
Active | Lawyer

Overseas

Chum Sarith
Member of Steering Committee
Overseas.
Overseas
Hing Soksan
Chairman of Youth Movement
Living in Philadelphia, works at Starbucks, according to LinkedIn. Active on Facebook. Kem Sokha faction.
Overseas
Kem Monovithya
Member of Permanent Committee
In the U.S. in exile.
Overseas
Kimsuor Phirith MP
Member of Permanent Committee
In exile overseas.
Overseas
Nhay Chamroeun MP
Member of Steering Committee
In the U.S.
Overseas
Sor Chandeth Senator
Chairman of Banteay Meanchey Working Group
Overseas according to his Facebook page. Facing a complaint from CPP lawyers.
Overseas
Tuon Yokda MP
Member of Permanent Committee
In exile overseas.
Overseas

Inactive

Chea Poch MP
Member of Steering Committee
In Cambodia. Says he will wait until the end of the day on Nov. 16 before announcing intentions.
Inactive
Hour Dina (or Prak Savoan, Nai)
Member of Steering Committee
In Cambodia, but left politics.
Inactive
Keo Phirum MP
Member of Steering Committee
In Camodia, retired from politics.
Inactive
Sisowath Thomico
Member of Steering Committee
Unaffiliated for now.
Inactive
Sok Um Sea MP
Member of Steering Committee
Taking care of mango and longan plantation in Preah Vihear. Retired from politics.
Inactive

Dead

Cheam Channy MP
Member of Permanent Committee
Died.
Deceased
Keo Sambath
Member of Permanent Committee
Died.
Deceased
Ketya Voleak (or So Satya)
Member of Steering Committee
Died.
Deceased
Khy Vandeth MP
Member of Steering Committee
Died.
Deceased
Yark Yorn (or Yart Yorn)
Member of Steering Committee
Died.
Deceased

Unascertained

Chan Sokchon
Member of Steering Committee
Chea Sokuntheany
Member of Steering Committee
Chhun Sithon
Member of Steering Committee
Chum Sirath
Member of Steering Committee
Dam Sithi MP
Member of Steering Committee
Dang Chamroeun MP
Member of Steering Committee
Heng Sunhuot (or Heng Poahorn)
Member of Steering Committee
Hing Sokhom
Member of Steering Committee
Hul Thol
Member of Steering Committee
Ke Sovannroth MP
Member of Permanent Committee
Kim Nath Sim
Member of Steering Committee
Kun Lum Ang Senator
Member of Steering Committee
Ky Wandara MP
Member of Permanent Committee
Leng Savuth
Member of Steering Committee
Lim Kim Ya MP
Member of Steering Committee
Limbun Sidareth MP
Member of Permanent Committee
Ly Ry MP
Member of Steering Committee
Mam Kamal
Member of Steering Committee
Mao Monyvann MP
Member of Permanent Committee
Mao Senglong (or Suy Leng Senglong)
Member of Steering Committee
Men Moniratana
Member of Steering Committee
Mounh Saphan
Member of Steering Committee
Ngim Nheng MP
Member of Steering Committee
Ngor Kimcheang MP
Member of Steering Committee
Nhim Kimnhol
Member of Steering Committee
Requested amnesty, but could not be ascertained whether he received it.
Pen Phalika
Member of Steering Committee
Phat Phalla
Deputy Chairman of Phnom Penh Executive Committee
Phuong Sokha
Chairman of Kandal Executive Committee
Pin Ratana MP
Member of Steering Committee
Pin Thoeurn
Member of Steering Committee
Pin Ya Thai
Member of Steering Committee
Ros Chansokuntheavy
Member of Steering Committee
Ruos Saravuth
Member of Steering Committee
San Sang
Member of Steering Committee
San Soeung
Chairman of Kg. Cham Executive Committee
Sao Vibol
Member of Steering Committee
Sek Sak (or Phon Phally)
Member of Steering Committee
Seng Sorphorn Dara
Member of Steering Committee
Suon Rida MP
Member of Permanent Committee
Thuch Sa Im
Chairman of Kg. Speu Executive Committee
Tim Boreak
Member of Steering Committee
Um Virakroath
Member of Steering Committee
Ung Sovanna
Member of Steering Committee
Requested political rehabiliation but was denied.
Vann Narith MP
Member of Steering Committee
Yim Kosal
Member of Steering Committee
Yim Sovann MP
Member of Permanent Committee
Yon Tharo MP
Member of Steering Committee

Graphic by Michael Dickison. Ananth Baliga contributed to compiling the data.

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