Sok An Says Sweden May Aid KR Trial

Minister of Cabinet Sok An is hopeful that Sweden will help Cambodia hold a trial of former Khmer Rouge leaders without UN participation, the minister said Tuesday upon returning from a conference there.

But Bangkok-based Swedish Ambassador Jan Nordlander said his government had no such intention. “That is not correct,” he said in an interview.

In discussions with Sok An, “my government underlined that we are very anxious that a UN-sponsored tribunal be implemented. We think it would be a mistake to focus on anything other than the UN-sponsored model,” Nordlander said.

The UN gave up in February on nearly five years of negotiations toward a joint trial.

Cambodia greeted the decision with dismay and asked the UN to reconsider, but officials, including Sok An—the government’s chief trial negotiator—and Prime Minister Hun Sen, have also vowed to conduct a trial without the UN if necessary.

Only India, which volunteered to send a judge, has offered to help with a trial independent of the UN.

Other governments, including the US and the European Union, have protested the UN’s decision but refused to consider any other trial framework.

The Swedes “said they want to help with the Khmer Rouge trial process,” Sok An said. “They did not refuse to help,” either financially or by contributing a judge.

“I hope they will do the same as India has done,” the minister said.

“We think [a UN-independent trial] would not be an alternative as good as a UN-sponsored trial,” Nordlander said.

Asked what should be done if the UN never returns to the negotiating table, he said, “We do not think we should obstruct the chances to put the negotiations back on track with the UN model by considering an alternative.”

Sok An’s visit to Sweden inclu­ded talks with the Swedish minister of international development coordination and the deputy prime minister.

He also traveled to France, where he participated in an energy conference.


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