THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
Vol. 11, No. 24
November 22nd – December 5th 2002
THE United Nation’s third committee voted overwhelmingly in favor of a draft resolution on November 20 that, if passed by the UN’s general assembly, will give the secretary general a fresh mandate to restart talks with the Cambodian government on setting up a trial for Khmer Rouge leaders.
The vote was 123 in favor of the resolution, 0 against, with 23 abstentions. Both China and the US voted in favor of the resolution.
It is expected that the draft resolution will be submitted to the General Assembly before the conclusion of the current 57th session on December 20.
Amnesty International (AI), in a news release issued from its New York headquarters, has criticized the resolution, saying it is fatally flawed.
“If this resolution is passed it would fail to provide the end to impunity that Cambodian people deserve,” said AI. “We believe that the so-called ‘mixed tribunal’ agreed upon in 2000 compromising a majority of Cambodian judges over international judges, without an international prosecutor, fell short of required internationally recognized standards and did not provide full guarantees of independence, impartiality and credibility required to ensure that justice be done, and be seen to be done.”
AI called upon the UN general assembly to ensure that any new resolution for the establishment of the tribunal be based on new negotiations with the Cambodian authorities.
The organization said that there was nothing in the new draft resolution that would address the serious flaws of the previous negotiations which resulted in the withdrawal of UN involvement in 2002.
“The organization believes that the proposed resolution now before the UN general assembly’s third committee regarding the establishment of criminal tribunal for the prosecution of crimes committed during the KR period of 1975 to 1979 will not at all achieve this aim,” said AI.
The United Nations special representative for human rights in Cambodia, Peter Leuprecht, told a news conference in Phnom Penh on November 19 that he hoped the draft resolution would be passed by the general assembly.
“I believe that the text that has been tabled in New York is a good text and I hope it will be passed by the general assembly,” said Leuprecht. “First of all I have no reason to believe that the government [of Cambodia] will reject the resolution.”