Prime Minister Hun Sen reiterated his criticisms of the UN during a speech Tuesday at a meeting of the Asian Association of Parliaments for Peace, blasting the world organization for failing to bring peace to Cambodia.
Hun Sen also said it was hypocritical of the UN to demand a trial of former Khmer Rouge leaders when the world body gave a seat to the rebels instead of the Vietnamese-backed Cambodian government during the 1980s.
“The recent calls for prosecution and punishment of the former Khmer Rouge leaders for their past crimes come strangely from those who had actively pardoned, fed and supported them,” Hun Sen told lawmakers from more than 25 Asian nations.
A draft law to try former Khmer Rouge leaders is now being reviewed by the Constitutional Council and will then go to King Norodom Sihanouk. Hans Corell, the UN’s top legal expert, sent a letter to the government on Jan 9 expressing concerns about 17 of the draft law’s 49 articles.
Hun Sen said the Cambodian people, not the UN, should be credited with bringing peace to Cambodia. After more than 20 years of war, Cambodia’s factions signed the Paris peace accords in 1991, which paved the way for Untac.
“What was intended in the Paris peace accords of 1991, but could not be ensured by Untac, is now a reality because Cambodians have come together among themselves,” he said.
Hun Sen said Cambodia must play a balancing act to ensure that the Khmer Rouge tribunal does not bring renewed war.
He has said repeatedly that prosecuting former Khmer Rouge deputy premier Ieng Sary could bring war. Ieng Sary led a mass defection of Khmer Rouge cadre in 1996, and in return, King Sihanouk granted him amnesty for a 1979 death sentence.
The peace conference continues through Friday.