Although a formal conference between the two is scheduled for today, Prime Minister Hun Sen and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan already have met to discuss a trial of former Khmer Rouge leaders at a Cuba conference, Cambodian officials confirmed on Tuesday.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong said Tuesday afternoon that although he did not have details from Monday’s meeting between the two, he is “confident a solution can be reached on the remaining point —the prosecutor.”
After a UN delegation dispatched here to negotiate the trial left last month, the two sides had yet to resolve how suspects would be charged in the trial.
The UN seeks independent authority to prosecute, while the Cambodian government wants a system of “co-prosecutors”—one Cambodian, one UN-appointed.
Hun Sen last week announced a handful of options to resolve the dispute, including a system where a separate panel would resolve any differences between the co-prosecutors.
The UN has expressed concern that having two prosecutors would lead to stalemate, while the Cambodian government has warned that an independent prosecutor could cast too wide a net in the trial and not hone in on the handful of Khmer Rouge leaders who gave orders during their regime’s rule from 1975-79.
Hor Namhong said he doubts the Cambodian premier and the UN leader will discuss the specifics of the prosecution in Cuba.
He suggested that “high-level” diplomatic talks do not cover details but instead help keep negotiations alive.
In addition to a draft law passed by Hun Sen’s cabinet in January outlining the government’s position on the trial, the UN and the government will have to sign a separate, international agreement to assure one another that certain criteria are met in the trial.
When asked Tuesday afternoon if the agreement between the two sides will be signed in Cuba, Hor Namhong only said, “No. Maybe later.”