Students' Movement for Democracy, Cambodia

Location: Cambodia

Students´Movement for Democracy (SMD) is a non-political and most active youth organization in Cambodia. It was established in 1998 after the unfair and unjust election result released manipulated by the CPP.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Mr. Panng Sokheoun resigned from his Presindencies of the two orgnizations- Youth Council of Cambodia (YCC) and Students´Movement for Democracy (SMD ...Read More ) on 1 March 2006 and upon his resignations, SMD immediately held its Extra-ordinary Congress to continue its mandate in the very critical situation towards its strength, unity, and democracy in order to achieve its vision for the students, youth, and the nation, while YCC is till under the leadership of its Acting-President.

The election held for the whole day of 5 March 2006, from 8:AM to 5:00PM, participated by 50 members. The election started after Mr. Chin Channa, the SMD founders and Mr. Sorn Sara, SMD Acting President, gave a welcome speech to the congress, and after Mr. Hing Soksan, Assistant Secretary General, reported SMD’s activities from 2004- 2005 like SMD’s Democracy, International Treaties, and Administration trainings, Border Visits, and International Mission of Mr. Pang Sokheoun, and SMD’s financial sheet. The election conducted in two steps: (1) the members to choose the Board President and Board Members and (2) the elected Board Members to choose the President of SMD. As the result, Mr. Im Sonith was elected as President of SMD Board Members and Mr. Mao Veasna was elected as President of SMD. Then, Mr. Mao Veasna appointed SMD Vice-President and Secretary. The Structure of SMD Leadership is organized as:

Board Members
Mr. Im Sonith – President of Board Member
Ok Army - Board Member
Mr. Taing Sarada - Board Member
Mr. Sor Longdet - Board Member
Mr. Hing Siksan - Board Member
Mr. Mr. Pech Pisey- Board Member
Mr. Sorn Dara - Board Member

Executive Memebers
Mr. Mao Veasna – President of SMD
Mr. Ken Sara – Vice-President
Mr. Sorn Sarath – Secretary General

At 4:30 PM, after SMD’s leadership was structured, Mr. Mao Veasna, before the closing program, expressed his thanks to SMD’s members that chose him to lead SMD and strongly determined that he would lead SMD towards good example, democracy, unity, territorial
integrity protection, to serve our students, youth, and nation and if he was incompetent he would immediately resign. At 4:55PM, Mr. Im Sonith, as the Board President, concluded the program, thanked members for hard working, sacrifice for the nation, and wished all SMD’s members as well as Cambodians to be at peace, prosperity, and happiness, and success. The program closing exactly at 5:00PM with success and respect.


Chea Vicheata, the daughter of Chea Vichea who is now living in Finland is attending the demonstration against the present of Hun Sen in Finland for the Conference in September 2006. She is as brave as her farther.
At the time of his death in January 2004, Chea Vichea, 36 years old, was a prominent and internationally respected trade union leader. He was well known as a champion for workers’ rights in the growing and economically vital garment industry. His work as a trade unionist was also closely linked with his opposition political activities dating back to the 1990s.

Chea Vichea was born in Kandal province and studied agriculture in the former Soviet Union before returning to his native Cambodia on graduation in 1995. He was a founding member, together with Sam Rainsy, of the Khmer Nation Party (KNP) in 1995, renamed the Sam Rainsy Party in 1998.

In early 1997 he helped to create the Free Trade Union of Workers, together with Sam Rainsy.The KNP supported garment factory workers in a series of strikes in 1997 for improved pay and conditions. Many of the workers took part in a demonstration organised by the KNP outside the National Assembly in Phnom Penh on 30 March 1997 to protest about deficiencies of the judicial system. Four grenades were thrown into the peaceful demonstration resulting in at least 16 deaths and over 100 injured, including Chea Vichea who suffered a head injury.

Vichea was shot in the head and chest while reading a newspaper at a kiosk in Phnom Penh; he had recently been dismissed by the INSM Garment Factory (located in the Chum Chao District of Phnom Penh), as a reprisal for helping to establish a trade union at the company. He was also closely affiliated with the opposition Sam Rainsy Party. Following his death, he was succeeded in his position at the FTUWKC by his brother Chea Mony.
A few days after Vichea's killing, and facing mounting criticism for their failure to act, Cambodian authorities arrested two men and charged them with the murder. The first, Born Samnang, intitially admitted to the killing but then publicly retracted, claiming to have been beaten into confessing. Multiple eyewitnesses have placed Born Samnang in a different part of the country at the time of the murder. The second suspect, Sok Sam Oeun, has consistently denied any involvement.
On 22 March 2004, the Investigating Judge in the case, Hing Thirith, threw out the charges against the two men, citing a lack of evidence against them. The next day, Hing Thirith was removed from his job at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, and his decision to drop charges was subsequently overturned on 1 June 2004 by the Appeals Court Presiding Judge Thou Mony[1]. More than a year after the murder, Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun have yet to be tried and remain in custody in Phnom Penh, despite a Cambodian law that no one be detained without trial for longer than six months. The case has been taken up by many human rights organisations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

On 1 August 2005, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court's delivered a highly criticized judgment by both local and international organizations, calling this verdict unfair and based on political bias rather than on independent and reasonable judgment.

Sok Sam Oeun and Born Samnang were judged guilty after a trial where no witnesses came to testify against accuses and no forensic evidence was brought to court. Both individuals were sentenced to 20 years in prison and ordered to pay $5,000 compensation each to the family of the victim.

Compensation was turned down by the family of Chea Vichea, stating that they did not believe the two convicted were the murderers of their lost member.

SMD Statements