Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday shot back at allegations made by the Asia director at Human Rights Watch that he has deliberately and continuously stalled work of the Khmer Rouge tribunal, and that he was responsible for Ieng Sary dying before a verdict could be reached.
Following the former Khmer Rouge foreign minister’s death last week, Brad Adams released a statement placing the blame for Ieng Sary’s demise before the tribunal’s close squarely at Mr. Hun Sen’s feet.
“There was a guy who said that Hun Sen stalled the trial,” Mr. Hun Sen told government officials gathered at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh. “Brad Adams, right? From Human Rights Watch. Brad Adams. Oh God.”
“Fast or slow progress depends on the tribunal. It doesn’t depend on me,” he continued, adding that a lack of funding and the advanced age of the defendants were the two main causes for slow progress at the court.
The prime minister then pointed to the fact that the U.N. had continued to support the Khmer Rouge even following 1979, when they held a U.N. seat. Mr. Hun Sen’s government by contrast, he said, had toppled the Pol Pot regime.
In his statement last week, Mr. Adams said Mr. Hun Sen “asked the United Nations in 1997 for assistance in holding Khmer Rouge leaders accountable—and since then he has done everything in his power to stymie the tribunal’s work.”
As evidence of this, Mr. Adams pointed to the fact that the U.N. nearly pulled out of negotiations to establish the tribunal in 2002 due to government interference in the tribunal.
The U.N.’s concerns about the hybrid court had proved correct, Mr. Adams said. “The government has failed to require its members to provide evidence to the tribunal’s judicial investigation and trial proceedings. Serious corruption allegations affecting the proceedings have never been adequately investigated.”
Mr. Hun Sen has said that he will not allow any further trials after the current Case 002 has concluded.