Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Namhong, Oz envoy discuss the future of the Khmer Rouge court

Namhong, Oz envoy discuss the future of the Khmer Rouge court

Namhong, Oz envoy discuss the future of the Khmer Rouge court

hor namhong
Australia’s outgoing Ambassador to Cambodia Penny Richards (L) shakes hands with Foreign Minister Hor Namhong. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post

Australia’s outgoing Ambassador to Cambodia Penny Richards (L) shakes hands with Foreign Minister Hor Namhong. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post

Outgoing Australian ambassador to Cambodia, Penny Richards, “exchanged views” on the Khmer Rouge tribunal with Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong yesterday in a sit-down meeting, a senior official said.

Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Namhong “expressed concern” that the trial would not complete its work, and favored speeding up the case against the two remaining defendants.

The court has lost half of its four defendants in Case 002. Ieng Thirith was ruled mentally unfit to stand trial late last year, and her husband, Ieng Sary, died from heart failure on March 14.

Kuong did not give more specific details about the tribunal conversation. A representative for the Australian embassy also declined to comment on the specifics of the sit-down.

Australia is Cambodia’s second-largest donor to the cash-strapped tribunal next to Japan, having committed a total of $19.7 million to the court, according to the latest foreign ministry figures.

Kuong said that Namhong also spoke about the coming national elections on July 28, saying they would be free and fair despite the absence of Sam Rainsy.

Rainsy, the main opposition figure, lives in self-exile in France due to court convictions against him that his supporters say are politically motivated.

Next month, Richards will be replaced by Alison Burrows, a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, as Australia’s next ambassador to Cambodia.

To contact the reporter on this story: Vong Sokheng at [email protected]

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