Prime Minister Hun Sen railed against the UN in a speech Tuesday, saying the international body had committed crimes worse than Pol Pot, by supporting the Khmer Rouge government in the 1980s and that the world body should be prosecuted.
“Some people knew that Pol Pot killed people from 1975 to 1979, but they continued to support Pol Pot until 1993. If they hadn’t known, it wouldn’t have been their mistake, but they knew about it and worked with it. They committed an even bigger crime than Pol Pot,” Hun Sen told a graduation ceremony at the National Education Institute.
“If we prosecute Pol Pot, we should prosecute the UN first with other countries that supported Pol Pot from 1979 until 1991,” he added.
Pol Pot died in 1998, but five senior leaders of his regime are awaiting trial at the UN-backed Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. S-21 prison chairman Duch’s trial in front of the Khmer Rouge tribunal started last week.
UN Resident Coordinator Douglas Broderick could not comment the prime minister’s latest attack on the UN as he had not heard or read the speech, his spokeswoman, Beth Neate, said.
Though he listed as part of his own accomplishments the establishment of the Khmer Rouge tribunal and the arrests of its suspects, Hun Sen also went on to criticize the court.
He referred to a statement the court released Monday proclaiming a “breakthrough” in discussions to prevent corruption at the tribunal and argued that the court had many more problems to solve.
“Now they [the UN] are showing off prosecuting [former Khmer Rouge leaders]. The prosecution will never be finished,” the prime minister said, adding that the government had already held a tribunal for Khmer Rouge leaders in 1979.
“We had prosecuted them in 1979, but they did not recognize it. Now they are having a retrial, which is complicated and costing hundreds of millions of dollars,” Hun Sen said.
The prime minister was referring to an expeditious People’s Revolutionary Tribunal set up in the aftermath of the ousting of the Khmer Rouge, which was widely considered to have not met international standards and was not recognized by the international community.
ECCC spokeswoman Helen Jarvis declined to comment on the prime minister’s speech saying that she had not heard it.
(Additional reporting by Isabelle Roughol)