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Letter: Who more arrogant?

Dear Editor

I refer to Tony Kevin's article, "United Nations- Cambodia dispute approaches

an honorable resolution" (March 17-30). It is not surprising that Tony Kevin

attributes the UN with arrogance for its position on the legal system of Cambodia

relating to the KR tribunal. However, his own arrogance contained in the following

statement is appalling: "Unfortunately some Cambodians were misled into supporting

the UN position, against their own country's sovereignty." This amounts to saying

that those Cambodians are traitors.

The falsity that runs through Kevin's article lies in his conception of sovereignty.

Cambodia, according to its constitution, is a liberal democracy. Its constitutional

framework is based on separation of powers. Thus its sovereignty is defined in liberal

democratic terms. This is no Western imposition; it is the supreme law of the land.

Sovereignty is a matter of judicial institutions reaching objective standards of

justice in accordance with this law.

It is no violation of sovereignty for Cambodian citizens (or for any one else) to

point out that the requirements of the constitution have not yet been achieved. Nor

is it the fault of the Cambodian Government that this has not happened. In fact,

the government itself has repeatedly stated its dissatisfaction at the state of its

judiciary. It is taking steps to correct the situation. Given the enormity of the

damage to the legal system and profession, this will take quite some more time.

The KR trial must either wait until then or some compromise must be achieved to ensure

quality of justice. That is all that is involved.

There is no issue of sovereignty here. Unfortunately, Tony Kevin makes trifles of

the real issues and has reduced the discussion to mere political propaganda. In the

process he has insulted some Cambodians who have been trying to come terms with their

own history in a serious manner.

Basil Fernando

Asian Human Rights Commission

Kowloon, Hong Kong



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