Officials Deny Shift in Policy By Hun Sen on KR Tribunal

Spokesmen for the government and for Second Prime Minister Hun Sen denied Mon­day that the premier has backed off of support for an international tribunal to try Khmer Rouge leaders.

Hun Sen told reporters Sat­ur­day that “the people will de­cide” after this year’s elections whether to try Khmer Rouge leaders in a national or international court.

But Prak Sokhonn, a top aide to Hun Sen, insisted the statement represents no change in policy. He added Hun Sen was possibly speaking of other people’s frustration at the slow pace of setting up a tribunal.

“He has always wanted an in­ternational tribunal to try those responsible for the crimes,” Prak Sokhonn said.

“But since he has appealed several times for assistance to create an international court and there was no response…there were some who said if the international community doesn’t want to do it, we can consider trying with a national court.”

Last week, the US took the first step in establishing a UN court to judge the Khmer Rouge, circulating drafts for an International Criminal Court for Cambodia to be established in The Hague.

Khieu Kanharith, secretary of state for Information, also said the government has not changed its position. “I think our vision is consistent. The top leaders must be tried outside the country…to avoid the politicizing of the issue,” he said.

The death of Pol Pot and the ongoing strife within rebel leadership has put the spotlight on bringing Khmer Rouge leaders to justice.

The focus has led to speculation by some analysts that the government would not want a tribunal that could subpoena rebel defectors, including former Dem­ocratic Kampu­chea deputy premier Ieng Sary, who are now allied with the government.

Khieu Kanharith speculated that Hun Sen was merely saying that holding elections is the top priority.

 

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