THE President of the National Assembly, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, said he far
preferred the participation of the United Nations in any future trial of Khmer
His comments came the day after the visiting Indian Prime
Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, offered to send an Indian judge to assist trial
proceedings if the UN stays out of the process.
"I understand that we
have to continue negotiating with the UN in order to find a formula that will
reach a compromise with the UN and our law," Ranariddh told reporters April
"This is a matter for the government - I am not the person who should
write to the UN requesting that it return," Ranariddh said. "The reality is that
we should ask ourselves whether Cambodia has the political will to establish a
KR tribunal that meets international standards."
Ranariddh, who together
with Hun Sen drafted a letter in June, 1997 requesting UN assistance in setting
up a KR tribunal, said a fair tribunal would be impossible without the UN's
"I don't believe that the tribunal process will follow that
required in a court of law and within the justice framework, even if there is
participation of foreign judges," Ranariddh said. "[Without the participation of
the UN] there will be no guarantees about transparency and
Vajpayee made his offer at a press conference with Prime
Minister Hun Sen April 9, saying he would send a judge from India to
participate. It was the first overt indication of support from another country
for a KR trial not involving the UN.
"We would send the judge from India
to participate in the trial," Vajpayee said. "If the UN finally says no, then
the decision will be taken."
Hun Sen said that a number of countries were
trying to act as a bridge between Cambodia and the secretary-general of the UN,
Kofi Annan, whose decision it was on February 8 to withdraw from the proposed
"If the UN doesn't help, Cambodia has already made the decision
that we will go further in this matter. India will be ready to assist," Hun Sen
"I wonder if perhaps the people who work in the UN secretariat
[Annan's office] have been trying to engineer the failure of the trial by
creating obstacles. I wonder also whether they might do again what they have
When asked whether outside diplomats might be drafted in to
help Cambodia's lobbying efforts at the UN, Senior Minister Sok An said the
country had already tried everything.
"How can we look for [the help of a
third person]?" Sok An asked. "We have already done everything we can. The only
way now is to wait and listen for the requests from the UN."
the personal advisor to Hun Sen, said that as the UN had pulled out of the
process, it was the UN's responsibility to get it back on track.
who cut the bridge are responsible for linking it again," he said.
Vajpayee arrived in Cambodia April 9 for a two-day visit, accompanied by a
delegation of businessmen and government officials. He was greeted on his
arrival at Phnom Penh's Pochentong Airport by Prime Minister Hun Sen and senior
ministers and foreign diplomats. The visit was the first by an Indian premier
since Jawaharlal Nehru came here in 1954.
During his visit the two
countries signed agreements on allowing direct flights between the two
countries, the restoration of Ta Prom at Angkor Wat, and a visa exemption for
the holders of diplomatic and official passports. The measures should go some
way towards boosting tourism.
The 75-year-old Vajpayee met King Norodom
Sihanouk, Prince Ranariddh, and Senate president Chea Sim.