King Rejects Lawmaker’s KR Draft Law Plea

King Norodom Sihanouk will sign off on the Khmer Rouge trial law, despite a written request not to do so from a former National Assembly member who called the legislation “unconstitutional.”

“This draft law is against the Constitution,” said Thach Reng, a former Son Sann party lawmaker. “Because of this I asked the King to consider this, and if he agrees with my proposal please let him find legislation to help the citizens.”

In a written response to the request Thursday, the King said he cannot interfere.

“Please excellency understand me, because this matter causes a split nation,” the King wrote. “I can’t get into matters which have to be responsible to the nation and the international community by the government and the two lawmaking bodies [the National Assembly and the Senate].”

The law is unconstitutional because it allows foreigners to be judges of Khmer citizens, Thach Reng said.

It calls for a tribunal of both foreign and Cambodian judges and investigators.

“So foreigners who are selected to be prosecutors and investigating judges must first get Khmer citizenship,” Thach Reng said. “[But] I can’t write to the National Assembly, the Senate or the Constitutional Council be­cause they all decided the same thing.”

The King is expected to sign off on the draft—the final step  before it becomes law—before he leaves for China Wednesday for a medical check-up.

The Senate and the National As­sembly passed the law in January. The Constitutional Coun­cil approved it Monday.

“I do not object to the Khmer Rouge draft law,” said Thach Reng, a lawyer and now a member of the Funcinpec party. “But I am a lawmaker, as well, and it must be done in accordance with the Constitution.”


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