The Cambodian National Assembly at its extraordinary session in Phnom Penh on June 7 passed the Law on Denial of Crimes Committed during the Khmer Rouge regime (1975-1979).

The five-chapter draft law was unanimously approved by 86 lawmakers present at the session, which was chaired by NA President Heng Samrin, the Cambodian News Agency (AKP) reported.

Under the law, those who refuse to acknowledge, diminish, deny or challenge the existence of crimes or glorify crimes committed during the Khmer Rouge regime will be sentenced from 6 months to two years in prison and fined between 1 million Riel (Cambodian currency roughly 250 USD) to 4 million Riel (1,000 USD).

Cheam Yeap, Chairman of the NA’s Economy, Finance, Banking and Audit Commission said the denial of Khmer Rouge crimes was a serious insult to the souls of those who lost their lives during the genocidal regime and harmed the victims’ families.

According to Cheam Yeap, the law will not go against the freedom of expression as 17 other countries have also such law.

The law was proposed and passed soon after Kem Sokha, Deputy President of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), has recently said that Tuol Sleng or S-21 prison was artificial.

Tuol Sleng was a prison during Khmer Rouge regime where over 10,000 innocent people were killed or tortured to death.

Survivors of S-21 announced early this week to organize on June 9 a mass demonstration to protest against KemSokha’s allegation and to demand him to apologize to the souls of the victims and the survivors of Tuol Sleng.-VNA