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Cambodian PM Orders Re-opening of 3 Union Murder Cases

FILE - Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen attends the funeral ceremony of Chea Sim, Cambodia's late former senate president and head of the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP), in Phnom Penh, June 19, 2015.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered the formation of a special committee to investigate the cold-case murders of several labor leaders.

The most prominent killing, of popular unionist Chea Vichea, took place in January 2004. Leaders Hy Vuthy and Ros Sovannareth were killed in 2004 and 2007, respectively. The killers of all three remain at large.

Hun Sen’s order, signed June 10 and leaked to VOA and other media outlets on Thursday, calls for a joint commission of officials from the ministries of Interior, Justice and Labor to review and re-investigate the cases.

Chea Vichea’s brother, Chea Mony, who now heads the the Free Trade Union as his brother once did, says he is not optimistic that justice will prevail.

“I do not believe there will be any result from the commission. A reliable, acceptable, independent, neutral commission must include non-governmental organizations," he said. "Families of the victims should also be included.”

He said many government commissions have been formed and failed to produce any results, including one to investigate January 2014 violence against workers, and they have done little.

Officials from the three ministries could not immediately be reached for comment. Government spokesman Phay Siphan said he had no information about the order.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Khmer service.