Ministers Approve KR Tribunal Negotiations

The Council of Ministers Fri­day approved negotiations with the UN on a joint war crimes tribunal to try former leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime.Prime Minister Hun Sen told cabinet members that a special government committee would hold talks with a senior UN delegation scheduled to arrive next week, cabinet spokesan Penn Thol said. 

Hun Sen earlier this week rejected a UN proposal for a majority of international judges on the tribunal, saying Cambodia must be allowed to control the process to ensure former Khmer Rouge fighters do not flee into the jungle and resume fighting.

The Council also took action Fri­day against unlicensed doctors and pharmacists practicing in Cam­bo­dia, approving a draft law that would require medical offices and pharmacies to obtain operating permits from the Ministry of Health, said Penn Thol. Offenders can be fined between one million and five million reil and have their businesses shut down for one to three months.

The act also prohibits medical advertisements that make outlandish and unrealistic claims to cure illnesses, said Penn Thol.

The Council also drafted a law Fri­day that outlines which goods will be excluded from customs duties, part of preparing to enter Asean’s free trade area, known as AFTA. The tariff reduction scheme among Asean countries is aimed at lowering tariffs on imports to a maximum rate of 5 percent by the year 2002.

“It is expected that in between four and 10 years, there will be no duty,” said Penn Thol. But “we cannot cut all duties at once because we need the revenue to prepare ourselves.”

(Additional reporting by DPA)


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