Prime Minister Hun Sen blasted the international community Saturday for quickly aiding countries that were hit by the Dec 26 tsunami while all but ignoring Cambodia in the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s.
Speaking in Ponhea Leu District in Kandal province, Hun Sen said the number of people killed by the tsunamis “was less than 10 percent of the extent of the damage and loss of lives during Pol Pot’s regime.”
. Death tolls for the tsunami have topped 150,000 while more than 1 million Cambodians died from 1975 to 1979.
Hun Sen said after the Khmer Rouge were removed from power, the international community levied sanctions against Cambodia instead of offering aid and even granted the Khmer Rouge a seat in the UN.
The US and China were the primary powers involved in the sanctions, which Hun Sen said were intended as a show of force against the Vietnamese.
Hun Sen said the international community coming forward to help fund the Khmer Rouge tribunal would “mean that the Cambodian people are offered justice.”
Refuting claims he did not want the tribunal to take place, Hun Sen called on the world to step forward and provide funding for the almost $57 million trials.
“No one wants the Khmer Rouge to be prosecuted more than Hun Sen,” he said. “Now, with help from [the UN], we will prosecute them. The government’s $13 million share is expensive, we can build a lot of irrigation systems, but we have to do it.”
Hun Sen said when he was in Indonesia for the Asean meeting on Thursday, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan thanked the Prime Minister for his efforts in establishing the tribunal.
Hun Sen said he asked Annan to do his best to find the money necessary to hold the tribunal.
Annan has said the tribunal will not proceed until donations for its entire three-year operation are secure and at least one year of funding is in the bank.
So far only Australia has contributed money for the tribunal while Japan and France have each promised to help fund the trials.