Top Cambodian and UN officials met for several hours Wednesday, hammering out the small points in a plan to try former Khmer Rouge leaders. The two sides said they are very close to finishing up negotiations.
“We can tell you very frankly that the main points of our understanding have been agreed upon by Samdech Hun Sen and Kofi Annan,” said Sok An, Minister of the Council of Ministers, after a three-hour meeting with Hans Corell, the UN’s top legal negotiator. “So myself and his excellency Hans Corell continue to work on the details,” he said.
Sok An said he and Corell will soon be ready to send the trial plans to the National Assembly’s legislation committee for review. A verbal agreement reached in May between Prime Minister Hun Sen and the UN must be approved by the Parliament, the Constitutional Council and the King before the UN formally enters the trial process.
The two sides have agreed that there will be a majority of Cambodian judges, with one foreign and one Cambodian prosecutor. There will also be no pardons, and that the arrests of suspects will be made by Cambodian officials, both sides said.
They have yet to decide on smaller issues, such as where a trial will be held, how the judges will be selected and in what language the proceedings will be conducted.
“I know that you will be disappointed because you want to hear about major, substantive issues,” Corell told reporters.
“It is our duty now to go over all the details to see that what we have achieved will function. And there are many questions we need to discuss, and we have to check how it will work and how it fits into the system in the United Nations,” he said.
Corell, who is scheduled to leave Cambodia Friday, said no agreements on the tribunal would be signed during his visit.
“The secretary general and Samdech Hun Sen have said that the signing will be after the law has been adopted in Parliament,” Corell said. “But we have to see to it that all of the paperwork is properly done before I leave this time.”
He hinted that this would be his last trip to Cambodia to work out details for a tribunal.