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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - DC-Cam requests public holiday for the first day of Duch trial

DC-Cam requests public holiday for the first day of Duch trial

Though Hun Sen said in 2004 the first day of the trials would be declared a holiday, it is unclear whether he will honour his promise.

PRIME Minister Hun Sen was called upon Wednesday to uphold a promise he made five years ago to declare the first day of trials at the Khmer Rouge tribunal a public holiday.

Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Centre of Cambodia, told the Post Wednesday that he had sent a request to the prime minister's office, the third since 2004, to make next Monday, March 30  - and every March 30 after that - a day of reflection and remembrance.

"The first day of the [Duch] trial is an important time to get people together.... It's a milestone. It marks the start of a long process to justice," he said.

"I asked him in 2004 and wrote to him again in 2007.... I have [now] sent him a third request," he added.

In 2004, the prime minister said the first day could be declared a day off work to allow people to watch the proceedings on TV. Though the trial ceremonially began February 17, testimonies begin Monday.

However, Information Minister Khieu Kanharith told reporters at an unrelated press conference Tuesday that a holiday would be pointless, as the day would not be historic.

"If the prime minister makes such a decision, it is up to him. But we cannot consider that day as a historical day because we already have

January 7 [Victory Day]," he added.

Khieu Kanharith could not be reached for comment on Wednesday, but said Tuesday he could not yet confirm whether or not Monday would be a holiday.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY NGUON SOVAN

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