A day after he suggested reintroducing the death penalty for incestuous child rapists, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Monday that he had changed his mind after considering the negative public feedback to the proposal.
“I accepted that there is no necessity to amend the Constitution,” the prime minister said during a speech at a university graduation ceremony in Phnom Penh in the morning.
The death penalty for criminal offenses was abolished in 1989 when the government abandoned revolutionary socialism and changed from the People’s Republic of Kampuchea to the State of Cambodia.
The Constitution, instituted after the Paris Peace Accords and U.N.-organized elections of 1993, also notes the death penalty’s abolition.
Hun Sen said he changed his mind after reading comments from three prominent analysts: lawyer Sok Sam Oeun, Future Forum executive director Ou Virak and Royal Academy of Cambodia president Sok Touch.
But the prime minister said he still supported measures to help prevent and prosecute cases of rape and sexual assault against minors and added he believed that rampant drugs and alcohol use in Cambodia was often a major factor in the sexual abuse against young girls.
“What we should do first is improve education [and] increase awareness about ethics and virtues to uphold the real value of human beings. Do not behave and commit bad deeds in a savage way,” he said during the graduation speech. “Second, [authorities should] strictly implement the law against those commit bad deeds in a savage way.”