Former Negotiator: Courts Fit to Judge KR

bali, Indonesia – Cambodia does not need to establish an international court to try Khmer Rouge leaders because its own courts are sufficient for the task, Indonesia’s former minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Alatas—a former negotiator for peace in Cambodia—said recently.

Speaking to a reporter at a trade meeting in this scenic re­sort isle, the retired minister said outsiders’ demands for a foreign-run court ignore what is best for Cambodia.

“I think it’s in the interest of Cam­­bodia to have a good national tri­bunal, a credible, national tribu­nal,” he said. “Cambodia does not need an international tribunal. It is their own affair. Cambodia just needs a good national court of justice.”

Ali Alatas said Cambodia is making progress in its development and should be trusted to de­liver a credible trial of the Khmer Rouge leaders. He pointed to Cam­bodia’s recent appointment to the chair of the Asean Standing Committee.

“The summit is very important. It can show how Cambodia al­ready plays a full part in Asean, and so soon will be a member of the World Trade Organization,” Ali Alatas said.

Ali Alatas, 70, said he remembers well his negotiations with the international community for the formulation of Cambodia’s 1991 Peace Accords, in which he played a pivotal role.

He was co-chairman of the group leading Cambodia’s four main political parties to a peace agreement in Paris 11 years ago, traveling with King Norodom Si­ha­nouk, representing Funcin­pec; Prime Minister Hun Sen, representing the CPP; Khieu Sam­phan, representing the Khmer Rouge; and Son Sann, later the leader of the Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party.

Ali Alatas is now a senior adviser to Indonesia’s foreign minister. He said he keeps busy these days with seminars, conferences and work on two books about his life, one on his speeches and the other an autobiography.

He said he has been observing Cambodia’s stability and is pleased its war has finally ended.

“I’m very pleased to see the progress that has been made. Of course, it still has a lot of problems. But all of us in Asia have problems, so that is not the yardstick to look at.”


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