UN officials at the Khmer Rouge tribunal do not plan to attend a discussion with retired King Norodom Sihanouk about his experiences during Democratic Kampuchea at the Royal Palace on Saturday, Peter Foster, the tribunal’s UN spokesman, said Wednesday.
It is unclear whether the retired King still wants to meet with tribunal officials following a memo on Wednesday in which he reiterated that the Khmer Rouge killed five of his children and 14 of his grandchildren and said that he had nothing more to add on the subject.
“I have already said everything, that is to say, all I know. I do not have anything else to say to the ECCC UN,” Norodom Sihanouk wrote in the e-mailed memo.
“As for what concerns the Khmer Rouge atrocities when the Pol Pot, Ieng Sary, Khieu Samphan were in State Power (Democratic Kampuchea), I know that the Khmer Rouge made disappear 5 of my children, 14 of my grandchildren,” he wrote.
The ECCC has not issued an official response to the retired King’s Web site communique of Aug 30 inviting UN staffers, in particular Foster, to attend the Palace discussion, which was to be televised by state-run TVK. “I am not aware of any plan for anyone to attend anything on Saturday,” Foster said Wednesday. “I am not authorized to take part in such a discussion.”
However, speaking at the National Assembly on Wednesday, Funcinpec lawmaker Monh Saphan urged tribunal officials to accept the retired King’s invitation.
“I appeal to the ECCC’s officials to honor the retired King’s invitation so that at least the retired King could inform them of important information about the Khmer Rouge,” Monh Saphan told the Assembly.
Norodom Sihanouk’s possible participation in the tribunal became an issue last week when the government released a public statement in response to a mysterious US-based organization’s call for the retired King’s inclusion in tribunal investigations.
Government officials, royalist and SRP politicians have questioned the motives and authenticity of the organization Cambodian Action Committee for Justice and Equity, whose origins and politics are unknown and whose Cambodian telephone numbers appear not to exist. (Additional reporting Douglas Gillison)