May Titthara / Khmer Times
Angelina Jolie has said parts of the Vanity Fair article were not accurate. Reuters
The Defence Ministry has hit out at the executive director of Human Rights Watch Asia for allegedly offending the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces over comments he made to the media in relation to an interview with Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie.
A Vanity Fair profile of the actress published last week included an anecdote that suggested Cambodia provided “500 officials from their actual army to play the Khmer Rouge army” in Ms Jolie’s recent film about the bloody regime, First They Killed My Father.
Human Rights Watch’s Brad Adams told New York magazine the following day that, if the story was true, it would have been a “terrible mistake” on Ms Jolie’s part.
“To ask for permission to make a film and thereby invest in the local economy is fine, and you’re going to have to have some meetings with some government officials,” Mr Adams said.
“But you can take a stance to make sure you don’t empower, legitimise, or pay the wrong people. And working with the Cambodian army is a no-go zone, it’s a red flag, and it’s a terrible mistake.
“There’s a moral hazard in having any relationship or dealings with the Cambodian government. It’s not clear whether she understands that and it’s not clear whether she cares about it.”
Defence Ministry spokesman Chhum Socheat said the claim that the army provided 500 personnel for the film was completely false.
“The military does not have time to make a film. Those involved were just actors wearing military uniforms,” he said.
He added that Mr Adams’ criticism of Cambodian troops was unacceptable.
“This is a serious insult to the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces,” he said.
“We did not take part in the film, but Brad Adams, who is supposed to be a human rights activist, has disregarded the Cambodian military’s rights.”
Mr Adams has been banned from entering the country for several years because government officials claim he has attempted to attack the ruling CPP on numerous occasions.
CPP spokesman Sok Eysan accused Mr Adams of having a vendetta against the government and the ruling CPP.
He added that human rights must apply to everyone, not just people Mr Adams approves of.
“He accuses anyone he wants of whatever he wants, but other people have rights as well,” he said.