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DNUM nixes KR Trial

DNUM nixes KR Trial

THE Ieng Sary-led Democratic National Union Movement (DNUM), based in the former

Khmer Rouge areas of Pailin and Phnom Malai, held its Second National Congress on

Jan 25, at which the membership "unanimously" decided to reject any prosecution

for recently-defected Khmer Rouge leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, according

to an official DNUM declaration seen by the Post.

The four-page document states that 285 delegates "from Phnom Penh, provinces

and other cities" attended the meeting. It was given to two reporters who happened

to be in Pailin at the time, but who were prevented from sitting in on the proceedings.

"We were told that ëif there are armed guards at the door it means you can't

attend'," said one of the correspondents.

The statement says that Prime Minister Hun Sen had "warmly welcomed" Samphan

and Chea to return to live in national society. King Sihanouk is said to have been

satisfied "with the good news" and that Prince Norodom Ranariddh and Samdech

Heng Samrin had "welcomed the event".

Former UN Secretary-General Butros Butros Ghali is noted to have "welcomed and

praised HE Khieu Samphan for deciding to return to live in society". He is reported

to have said "Now with the returning of [Samphan], Cambodia would achieve peace

and prosperity, [I] am very happy. The future issues are the internal affairs of

Cambodia, no foreign country shall interfere."

The DNUM congress reiterated its support for the aide memoire given by Hun Sen to

UN Special Representative Thomas Hammar-berg on Jan 21, noting that it supported

views that anything that "leads to the separation of national reunification

should be avoided," "if civil war reoccurs resulting from prosecution,

who would take responsibility," and "the facts from 1970 to 1998 are a

package of events which cannot be separated."

Chea and Samphan's return are described as "the ending of the old unfortunate

part and the opening of the new part of Cambodian history". The DNUM statement

wonders: "When the Khmer are fighting, they are scolded for not having solidarity

with each other, they are good at fighting. When Khmer are good friends with each

other, they are incited to fight each other."

Cambodia is described as an "island of peace" before 1970 and that after

the US and Vietnam signed a peace treaty in 1973 "Cambodia was bombed for almost

seven months, 200 days and nights, without any reason." Cambodia's "culture

of violence" was "created and grew during the war between 1970 and 1975".

Referring to the Paris Peace Accords, DNUM notes that they were about national reconciliation

and not prosecution. "Some Great Powers are now burying the Paris Agreements

to prosecute this or that person. Does this act show that there is cheating?"

the statement asks.

DNUM states that "the historical mistakes in the leadership of the country shall

not be forgotten," that the pain of the people "will not disappear easily,"

and that "the historical mistakes should not be allowed to happen again".

Given a situation that is not stable and the current political environment "DNUM

found that the tribunal to prosecute this or that person is not the solution."

When asked what mistakes the leadership had made, Ieng Sary's son Ieng Vuth said

in Pailin on Feb 1, "The leadership decided not to follow what the people wanted

and they did not work according to the plan."

Vuth said that during the KR years in power there were "difficult working conditions,

an exodus of people from the cities and that [the leadership] were not using the

traditional ways of working."

He said that Pol Pot was responsible for the abuses and that other central Committee

members "were secondary to the Prime Minister so Pol Pot is responsible".

Vuth reiterated the movement line by noting "As a representative of the Phnom

Penh government I stand by the statement of Hun Sen to Thomas Hamm-arberg,"

but he added, "personally, the trial should happen...but the question is when

is it appropriate."

"I acknowledge what happened in the past to the people and I understand that

the victims can not forget. As leaders we look after the people and understand that

the people have suffered," said Vuth.

He added that any trial should include everyone involved but that the immediate priority

was unity and economic stability and the final decision on a trial should be decided

by the Cambodian people themselves.

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