As the beleaguered Khmer Rouge tribunal reeled from yet another blow, Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday used a graduation speech to remind Cambodians of what he considers to be the hypocritical stance of the UN and some of the tribunal’s biggest foreign backers.
Speaking to a thousand graduates at the National Institute of Education, the premier called the international body’s one-time support for the Khmer Rouge regime “laughable”.
“Now, they [the international community] have gathered to try Pol Pot’s [senior KR leaders], but back in the day, they brought Pol Pot to sit at the UN seat. This is very unjust,” said Hun Sen.
After the Vietnamese entered Cambodia to topple the Khmer Rouge in 1979, the Cold War politics of the era led many Western nations to impose a decade-long economic embargo on the struggling country. With support from the US, the UK and others, the UN permitted the Khmer Rouge to hold on to Cambodia’s UN seat for years after the genocidal regime’s fall.
“It doesn’t matter, but it could be laughable, because in the previous time, Pol Pot sat at the UN and today [the UN] demands to try Pol Pot more than we demand it,” he continued in a likely reference to the clash between the national and international side over the status of future cases at the tribunal.