With regard to the June 11 article "Cambodia: Democracy Under Threat" by James D. Ross: The writer's description of democracy in Cambodia, the motivation of the murder of Thun Bunly and the so-called undermining of the Khmer Nation Party (KNP) by the government are inaccurate.
After the murder of Thun Bunly, the Royal Government of Cambodia instructed the authorities to conduct a complete investigation leading to the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators of this crime. Any speculation on the motivation of the murder while the investigation is continuing can only serve to mislead the public.
With regard to the KNP, Sam Rainsy simply had to fulfill the requirements stipulated for the registration of political parties before it could be fully recognized. For example, the use of images of Cambodian monarchs, or Angkor Wat or other Khmer temples as a party logo is prohibited. Mr. Rainsy ignored the regulations and requirements for compliance in registering political parties as stated and attempted to open party offices without properly informing the ministry of interior.
Second, when Mr. Rainsy and Mr. Ngoun Soeur split their Khmer National party (KNP) several months ago, Mr. Rainsy merged with the Liberal National Reconciliation Party (LNRP), substituting the LNRP's name and logo with the KNP's name and logo. The LNRP was registered as an official party under the U.N. Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC). The LNRP was now superseded by Mr. Rainsy's KNP, but the prohibited logo was still used. In addition, Mr. Ngoun Soeur's faction of the KNP also claimed the KNP as the name of its party. All this was interpreted by some as pressure and harassment to obstruct the establishment of the KNP.
The achievements of the Royal Government of Cambodia are remarkable and cannot be denied. Cambodia is an open society with an increasing number of newspapers and magazines and numerous nongovernmental organizations, including human rights organizations, functioning throughout the country. The second prime minister, Hun Sen, also has stated that he wishes to see other parties join in the upcoming general election. Distorting the facts and, thereby, calling Cambodia's democracy under threat is a one-sided story. VAR HUOTH Ambassador Royal Embassy of Cambodia Washington