By Thet Sambath
and Matt McKinney
the cambodia daily
Ta Mok, the man who oversaw the Khmer Rouge capture and trial of Pol Pot, is disappointed that the UN withdrew from negotiations with the Cambodian government on a trial of former Khmer Rouge leaders, according to his lawyer.
Held for the last three years at a military prison near Phnom Penh, Ta Mok has patiently waited for UN and Cambodian negotiators to agree on a formula for the tribunal, Benson Samay said. “For [him], it’s been a waste of time,” the lawyer said.
Benson Samay said he spoke to his client Tuesday. He said his client is healthy, has gained some weight and is prepared to go to trial.
Benson Samay said he now wants to see a trial occur by March 6, the anniversary of his client’s third year in jail. If that cannot be arranged, the former Khmer Rouge military commander should be freed on bail, his lawyer said.
Ta Mok has been detained since March 12, 1999. His case required a special act of the National Assembly to lengthen the time allowed for pre-trial detention under Cambodian law while negotiators tried to hammer out an agreement on the tribunal.
Prime Minister Hun Sen said earlier this week he would seek to have the detention period extended past March 6. The National Assembly is now in recess.
Benson Samay said he would prefer to see the UN return to Cambodia to assist with the tribunal, and asked for outside assistance to restart the negotiations. Several Western nations have asked the UN to reconsider their decision, but UN secretary general Kofi Annan has held firm.
“I would like to appeal to the countries that love justice to support us and join in the trial process or agree to send the prosecutor and judge,” Benson Samay said.
Ta Mok and former Tuol Sleng prison director Kiang Khek Ieu, known as Duch, are the only two Khmer Rouge cadre currently in jail awaiting any tribunal.