National Assembly leader Prince Norodom Ranariddh said he supports Prime Minister Hun Sen’s position on a Khmer Rouge trial, adding that Cambodia could try cadre leaders on its own.
“What Hun Sen said is right because the trial of former Khmer Rouge is a Cambodian issue, so whether the UN recognizes [a tribunal] is not important,” Prince Ranariddh said at Pochentong Airport Saturday upon his arrival from France.
On Friday, Hun Sen accused the UN of infringing upon Cambodia’s sovereignty and said the UN should “be quiet.” He was responding to comments made by a spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who said the world body must review the Khmer Rouge law before the tribunal can be established.
Prince Ranariddh said Cambodia is not following the situation in the Balkans, referring to the extradition of former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic, who is to face a UN war crimes tribunal at The Hague, Netherlands.
Cambodia and the UN agreed to a mixed tribunal that includes both foreign and Cambodian judges. Previously, the trial process was stalled because of arguments over whether prosecution should take place in a Cambodian or international court.
The comments made by Hun Sen and Prince Ranariddh again put into question the future of the tribunal and whether a memorandum of understanding between the government and the UN will be signed. In May, Kofi Annan said he had no idea what was going on with the Khmer Rouge trial because he had not heard from the Cambodian government in six months.
The National Assembly resumes its session today, but a revised Khmer Rouge trial law is not on its agenda. The law had to be changed after the Constitutional Council found a technical glitch in February, stalling the law for four months.
“If the UN does not attend [the trial], it is their problem,” Prince Ranariddh said. “The National Assembly and the Senate are not under the UN. So if the law is passed by the legislative organizations and passed to the King for his signature, we will form the tribunal for the Khmer Rouge immediately.”