Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Trial delay UN's fault - PM

Trial delay UN's fault - PM

Trial delay UN's fault - PM

Prime Minister Hun Sen criticized the United Nations' legal expert, Hans Corell,

November 16 for his slow progress in returning to Cambodia to finalize a

memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the proposed trial for former Khmer

Rouge.

"The tribunal law to try former Khmer Rouge was approved and they

(the UN) vetoed it," said Hun Sen. "I need a short answer: whether you will join

or not. If you don't, we will work with the existing law."

The Prime

Minister also discounted the chance that two senior Khmer Rouge currently jailed

awaiting trial might be released when their pre-trial detention period expires

next year.

"Ta Mok and Duch cannot be released," said Hun Sen. "I will

ask the National Assembly [to extend the pre-trial detention if

necessary]."

The two men have been held in Phnom Penh's military prison

since they were arrested - Ta Mok on March 6, 1999 and Duch on May 10,1999.

Duch, the former head of S-21, and Ta Mok, who was the military commander of the

southwest region, are both accused of involvement in genocide. The National

Assembly passed an amendment August 1999 that allowed those suspected of

genocide or crimes against humanity to be held in pre-trial detention for up to

three years.

The Minister for the Council of Ministers, Sok An, is

studying Corell's letter, which he sent mid-November. Sok An said he would

shortly send a response letter about further discussions on the MoU, which the

working group between the government and the UN is engaged on.

"If we can

establish a tribunal before the detention periods expire, there will be no need

to work on any extension to the pre-trial detention," said Sok An.

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