Gov’t Mulls Resolution for KR Trial Talks

Cambodia is mulling a draft resolution to kick-start talks with the UN for holding a long-awaited Khmer Rouge tribunal, a foreign diplomat said Thursday.

Since the UN’s abrupt withdrawal from trial negotiations in February, a group of 26 countries has been working on the text of a resolution that, if passed by the UN General As­sembly, would mandate the UN to pursue its involvement in a tribunal.

The draft resolution, worked out over several months between the 26 nations and Phnom Penh, is currently with Cambodian officials who are studying its contents, the diplomat said.

Though the resolution is in  draft form and the process is ongoing, there are still no indications whether Phnom Penh is willing to co-sponsor the final product, the diplomat said.

The ball is now in Phnom Penh’s court, the diplomat said. “If they want this [trial] to happen, Cambodia must show they want it to happen.”

Some believe that Cambodia may not co-sponsor the resolution, but will vote for it once it is presented to the General Assembly.

It is unclear why Cambodia would not co-sponsor a resolution that would likely deliver the mandate that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he needed to re­sume trial talks.

Cambodian officials, however, have remained adamant that the government’s Khmer Rouge trial law is adequate, and will not ac­cept new legislation that would supercede that law.

In August, Annan signaled a possible change in the UN’s decision to abandon talks—a move roundly criticized by many UN member states—saying he would resume talks if UN member states supported him by delivering a clear mandate.

The group of 26 and Cambodia were scheduled to meet last Mon­day in New York to discuss the resolution, but sources in Phnom Penh could not confirm if that meeting had taken place.

Minister of Cabinet Sok An, head of the Cambodian task force for trial talks with the UN, said Thursday the draft resolution was being studied. “We are studying the resolution and it depends on the content of the resolution,” he said. “We are participating in the process of the discussions.

“We hope the new meaning won’t set any new conditions to the negotiations,” Sok An told reporters earlier Thursday, following a meeting of the Cambo­dian Bar Association.


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