The UN should not bring Khmer Rouge leaders such as Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea before an international tribunal, former UN secretary-general Boutros Boutros-Ghali said Tuesday.
Boutros-Ghali said he believed a “deep national reconciliation” has developed since the 1993 elections and that Cambodia is stable enough to take control of its own political affairs.
The trial of Khmer Rouge leaders “is related to the sovereignty of the country and the UN should not intervene in the affairs of member countries,” he said at a reception in his honor at the French Embassy. “My personal view is this is a Cambodian problem. We must respect the point of view of the Cambodian government.”
Boutros-Ghali headed the UN when the international body set up a nearly $2 billion, 20,000-strong peacekeeping and administrative force in Cambodia six years ago. The UN mission aimed to end civil strife and pave the way for the elections in 1993.
While the UN did not solve the Khmer Rouge “problem,” Boutros-Ghali said, the rebel movement is finally at an end now after massive defections to the Cambodian government.
Boutros-Ghali arrived in Phnom Penh on Friday for a five-day official visit as head of the International Francophone Organization.
He met with Prime Minister Hun Sen earlier Tuesday, and also spoke with other political leaders, including National Assembly President Prince Norodom Ranariddh and CPP President Chea Sim. He is scheduled to leave this afternoon.
Boutros-Ghali said his meetings with Hun Sen and Prince Ranariddh were positive.
“It was very constructive, with real progress, real political will on both sides. They agreed to cooperate [with the International Francophone Organization] in the field of education, in the field of technical assistance.”
Boutros-Ghali expressed optimism about Cambodia’s future and the durability of the CPP-Funcinpec coalition, pointing out that factional fighting has finally petered out. The government in Phnom Penh now has control over the entire country, he said.
“For the first time in Cambodia’s [recent] history, it has territorial integrity,” he said.