Retired King: KR Trial Could Lead to Revolt

Retired King Norodom Siha­nouk warned of a possible revolt against the government by ex-Khmer Rouge hard-liners if their former Democratic Kampuchea lead­ers were prosecuted by a UN-backed tribunal.

Though they have since reintegrated with the government, some ex-Khmer Rouge loyalists still stand fast to their communist ideals and could return to their “maquis”—or resistance movement—if they feel injustice has been done, Norodom Sihanouk wrote in a message posted on his Web site, dated Saturday.

“These Khmer Rouge (more Maoist than our Chinese communist brothers and harder communists than my North Korean friends) still exist here [and] would not be happy with the current situation of our Country,” Norodom Sihanouk wrote, referring to rampant corruption, and a widening gap between the rich and the poor.

He added they would also be un­happy with the land- and forest-grabs by “companies of brutal Capitalism that are ravaging our country.”

“For these Khmer Rouge ‘who have not changed,’ the sentencing to a long imprisonment of their dear surviving Leaders would only be ‘the last straw,’” Norodom Sihanouk added.

Though he said he hoped such unrest would not happen, he warned: “These pure and hard-line Khmer Rouge, going underground (in 2005 or 2006 or 2007 or 2008) would not have any difficulty to create ‘Resistance’ units under their Command.”

Referring to comments made by UN human rights special en­voy Peter Leuprecht during his vi­sit to Cambodia late last year, Nor­­odom Sihanouk added that people, “not having anything more to lose and not knowing to Whom to turn… would feel there is only one way to seek ven­geance for the Injustice of their Lot: that would be to become ‘underground rebels.’”

Norodom Sihanouk, who has again raised his opposition to a proposed Khmer Rouge tribunal over the past week, said in a separate letter, dated Friday, that in comparison to the post-World War II Nuremberg tribunal, a UN-backed tribunal “would be only a masquerade, a bad joke.”

“I do not exaggerate,” he added.


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