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UN man to discuss trial

UN man to discuss trial

IMPORTANT issues will be on the agenda when the UN Undersecretary-General for Legal

Affairs, Hans Corell, arrives in Phnom Penh on July 5 to discuss the tribunal to

prosecute former Khmer Rouge leaders.

The United Nations and the Cambodian government are still negotiating to reach an

agreement to set up a mixed Cambodian-international KR tribunal. And although Corell

will focus on discussing "technical issues" during his visit, some of these

issues are still substantial enough to jeopardize a final deal.

Last month, the two sides agreed on the much-discussed co-prosecution, where a Cambodian

and a foreign prosecutor both have to concur on all indictments. In case of disagreement,

a panel of five judges will rule on the dispute.

However, it is still not clear what will happen if the prosecutors disagree on other

issues, such as who will be investigated even before indictments can be brought.

Or if the prosecutors also have to agree on what evidence will be submitted in court.

Also, Corell will be dealing with the question of establishing a satisfactory witness

protection program. A minor issue is the number of working languages at the tribunal.

Eventually, the UN and the Cambodian government will find it hard to sign an agreement

before the National Assembly has passed the tribunal draft law. The Assembly, which

has the ability to change major elements in the law, was scheduled to begin discussion

on the draft law in May, but the debate has been postponed several times.

Recently, the National Assembly chairman, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, expressed concern

that the government had not discussed the draft law with parliament yet and that

this might cause a serious delay in setting up the tribunal.

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