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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Statement by the Cambodian Royal Government

Statement by the Cambodian Royal Government

THERE appears a need clarify to the status of various versions of the Draft Law on

the Khmer Rouge tribunal, as some confusion may result from the Phnom Penh Post October

27-November 9, 2000 article "KR tribunal secrecy denounced"by Anette Marcher

and the Post's release on to the Internet of a text described as reflecting "the

changes agreed upon by United Nations Undersecretary-General Hans Corell and the

Minister of the Council of Ministers Sok An on July 7 2000".

The texts released by the Phnom Penh Post on the Internet of the Draft Law and of

the draft Memorandum of Understanding (or Articles of Cooperation) differ in a number

of points from those presented by Mr Hans Corell on July 7. It should also be noted

that the July 7 texts could not possibly have been endorsed at the negotiations,

as meetings were held only on July 5 and 6.

Both texts of the Draft Law from the July negotiations have a cover letter stating

clearly that they are the text which "the UN and the Cambodian delegations have

agreed to work on", and neither bears the signature of the parties as agreed

documents. The Royal Government of Cambodia still considers the January draft endorsed

by the Council of Ministers to be the official version under discussion by the National

Assembly together with a number of proposed amendments that have emerged over the

ensuing months, particularly those reached in the two further rounds of negotiations

with the UN.

During the July negotiations both parties agreed that they would not publicly release

any new texts precisely because these subsequent documents did not have any official

standing, and that the next step would be the release of the Law as eventually adopted

by the National Assembly, to be followed by the signing of The Articles of Cooperation

by both parties. At the four meetings so far held with the Legislation Commission,

Minister Sok An, Head of the Task Force, has been discussing article by article the

January text, along with the proposed amendments, points raised by members of the

Committee and also comments made by a range of other parties, including NGOs.

As to the charges of delay, like most other activities of the Cambodian Government,

these meetings with the Legislation Commission were suspended during the recent floods

and the parliamentary recess, but will soon resume, and the Prime Minister has on

several occasions stated that is one of the Government's top priorities in legal


It is to be hoped that further such misleading reports are not published, as they

do nothing but sow confusion and obstruct the proper procedures for drafting and

adopting an important and sensitive piece of national legislation that has deep implications

and significance for all Cambodians.

November 21, 2000



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