Official Says Law Not a ‘Main Issue’
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called the law to try former Khmer Rouge leaders stalled, saying his office has not received word from the Cambodian government on the legislative process for six months.
“There has been total silence, I think, for about six months, and I really do not know what is going to happen,” Annan said Monday in New York.
Government spokesman Khieu Thavika said the promulgation of the Khmer Rouge law is not the government’s top priority. He said the government has other immediate concerns, such as economic reform.
“We do not consider the Khmer Rouge law as our main issue,” he said Wednesday. “What we are trying to do is attract investors and construct roads.”
Prime Minister Hun Sen has said the law will be completed before the June 11 meeting in Tokyo, where the government will present its progress on reforms and donors will decide how much money to give to Cambodia.
As of now, the National Assembly, which passed the law for the first time in January, does not have the Khmer Rouge law on its agenda.
The law is going through a second round of review after the Constitutional Council found technical errors in February. The law refers to the death penalty, which does not exist in Cambodia.
Suy Nou, secretary of state for the Ministry of Justice, said there is one point of contention that remains in the law, though he declined to give further details.
“We had a meeting more than two weeks ago, but we failed,” Suy Nou said. “I don’t know what is going on because we have not yet had another meeting.”
Government officials said they will not respond to the UN until the law has gone through the full approval process here.
“From last year, it looked as if it was going to move very fast, but we’re stalled for months now, and we haven’t heard from them,” Annan said.
(Additional reporting by Kyodo)