Hun Sen Tells French President: 5 KR Prosecutions Are Enough

The Khmer Rouge tribunal should not seek the prosecution of any leaders of the former regime be­yond the five already in custody, Prime Min­ister Hun Sen told French Pres­ident Nicholas Sar­ko­zy during a visit to France last week, according to a senior government official.

Prak Sokhorn, secretary of state for the Council of Ministers, told re­porters at a news conference at Phnom Penh International Airport on Sunday that the prime minister told Mr Sarkozy that the tribunal is going well, but suggested that no further prosecutions be pursued.

“Hun Sen recommends that the Khmer Rouge tribunal should take care not to threaten the peace in Cam­­­bodia, and that means only pro­se­cuting these five people,” Mr Sok­horn said.

Five leaders of the Pol Pot re­gime currently face prosecution at the tribunal: former S-21 prison head Ka­ing Guek Eav, Brother Num­ber Two Nuon Chea, former head of state Khieu Samphan, former foreign af­fairs minister Ieng Sary and for­­mer minister of social action Ieng Thi­rith. The premier’s ap­parent re­marks to Mr Sarkozy echo a speech he made in late March, during which the premier called for no further pro­se­­­­cutions in order to avoid “another war.”

The tribunal’s co-prosecutors are locked in an ongoing dispute re­gar­d­ing the prosecution of further sus­pects. International Co-Pro­s­e­c­u­t­or Robert Petit has proposed investigations into a further six individuals, one of whom has since died, while Cam­bo­dian Co-Prosecutor Chea Leang has opposed the suggestion, sparking allegations of political interference.

Mr Petit could not be reached for comment Sunday. A woman ans­wer­ing Ms Leang’s telephone Sun­day said that the prosecutor would not speak with reporters.

Trial Chamber President Nil Nonn said Sunday that it was not his place to speculate on how many suspects will be prosecuted by the tri­bunal, and that he would not comment about what sway the prime minister holds over the court.

However, he added, “It is an international court; it is not easily affected by people in power.”

Tribunal Chief of Public Affairs Reach Sambath also declined to com­ment Sunday, saying, “It is not my habit to comment on the prime minister’s statements.”

 

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