Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - UN Rights Envoy Says KR Trial On Track

UN Rights Envoy Says KR Trial On Track

UN Rights Envoy Says KR Trial On Track

The UN rights envoy to Cambodia says that Prime Minister Hun Sen has not changed

his position on supporting a international tribunal for crimes committed by the Khmer

Rouge during their time in power.

"I wanted to make sure his statements did not mean any reversal of his previous

support," Thomas Hammarberg said in a Jan 21 press conference.

Hun Sen has recently suggested widening the scope of a trial, including broadening

the dates of inquiry and investigating the role of other countries in Cambodia's

tragic past. But the rights envoy said the Prime Minister was not insisting on it.

"I find that there is full support for UN work on this and it's still there,"

he said of the RCG's commitment to the trial.

He said the UN's trial parameters, which will not change - "crimes committed

by top KR leaders between 1975-79" - were first specified by Hun Sen himself,

in a Jun 1997 letter with then co-premier Norodom Ranariddh to Kofi Annan requesting

help.

The rights envoy also said that Hun Sen has sent a new letter to Annan, outlining

his reservations about a possible conflict between justice and peace in Cambodia.

Yet Hammarberg said he saw more potential problems for peace in Cambodia in not having

a trial than in having one.

"There is a risk that if [KR accountability] is not addressed in Cambodia, that

this will sow the seeds of unrest in future. Therefore there is no conflict [between

justice and peace] in principle ... One does not secure peace by ignoring crimes

of this magnitude in the long run."

Hammarberg said he combined his KR trial discussions with talks on the lack of investigation

into recent human rights violations, linking the two as part of the larger problem

of impunity.

"These two things go together, it is the same problem" he said. "It

will not be possible to actively put an end to the culture of impunity in this country

without putting the Khmer Rouge leaders to trial."

Hammarberg said he asked the Prime Minister why he welcomed KR defectors Khieu Samphan

and Nuon Chea - whose names are often mentioned by investigators as prime targets

for prosecution - with open arms.

"[Hun Sen] said he was aware of what he did, and to demonstrate to the Cambodian

people that the war was over."

Hammarberg hopes that tribunal proceedings can begin "this millennium".

The tribunal's form will depend on the recommendation of a group of experts studying

the issue, who will present a report to Annan in early February. The report will

be given to the RCG in late February and be made public around mid-March.

During his trip here, Hammarberg also visited Rattanakiri province and brought up

the problems of illegal logging, land rights and indigenous people's rights with

government authorities.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia-Thailand rail reconnected after 45 years

    A railway reconnecting Cambodia and Thailand was officially inaugurated on Monday following a 45-year hiatus, with the two kingdoms’ prime ministers in attendance at the ceremony. On the occasion, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha travelled together from Thailand’s

  • Thousands attend CNRP-organised pro-democracy vigil in South Korea

    Thousands of supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on Saturday gathered in the South Korean city of Gwangju to hold a candlelight demonstration calling for the “liberation” of democracy in Cambodia. Yim Sinorn, a CNRP member in South Korea, said on

  • US Embassy: Chinese trade does not help like the West’s

    The US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Friday said relations between China and Cambodia did not create jobs or help industry when compared to the trade between the Kingdom and the US. “About 87 per cent of trade [with China] are Chinese imports, which do not

  • The Christian NGO empowering Cambodian families in Siem Reap

    With its basketball court, football pitch, tennis court and ninja warrior water sports area, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Siem Reap campus of International Christian Fellowship (ICF) Cambodia is a sports centre. But while these free, family-friendly activities are one of the