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
"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."
Minister also discounted the chance that two senior Khmer Rouge currently jailed
awaiting trial might be released when their pre-trial detention period expires
"Ta Mok and Duch cannot be released," said Hun Sen. "I will
ask the National Assembly [to extend the pre-trial detention if
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
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.