Hun Sen creates security council stacked with his relatives

Prime Minister Hun Sen has quietly created a national security working group similar to the “White House’s National Security Council” in September with at least three of his relatives sitting on the panel, The Phnom Penh Post Online reported on Wednesday.

According to an order published in the Royal Book, the advisory group will be led by four-star General and Deputy National Police Commissioner Chhay Sinarith, Hun Sen’s two sons Hun Manet and Hun Manith and his son-in-law Dy Vichea.

However, Sinarith said the group has no decision-making power and will only advise on general security matters, both domestic and foreign. He likened the group to the White House’s National Security Council.

“The important thing is to ensure that we have stability and peace – these are crucial things,” said Sinarith.

He insisted that the group’s focus would not be on investigating demonstrations, but on general security. He indicated that the group might pick more members.

San Chey, the country director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and Pacific, said the appointments gave the appearance of favoritism.

Human Rights Watch deputy Asia director Phil Robertson said it appeared that Hun Sen wanted to use the group to root out threats to his power.