[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index ][Thread Index ]

U.N. Experts to Decide whether to

Subject: U.N. Experts to Decide whether to  Bring Khmer Rouge to  Justice 


               U.N. Experts to Decide whether to
               Bring Khmer Rouge to Justice


               UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- After years of inaction, the United
Nations is
               sending three experts to Cambodia next week to determine
whether to bring
               Khmer Rouge leaders to justice for the 1970s genocide that
left as many as 2
               million people dead. 

               "Nothing has been done so far on the horrendous crimes
committed between
               1975-79 by the Khmer Rouge. No one has been arrested for
these crimes.
               There hasn't even been an apology," Thomas Hammarberg, the
               secretary-general's special representative on human rights
in Cambodia, told a
               news conference Friday. 

               The experts will evaluate the evidence against the Khmer
Rouge, see how it
               would stand up in any international proceeding, and consult
with Cambodians to
               assess the desire and feasibility of bringing Khmer Rouge
leaders before a court,
               he said. 

               "It may not end up in anything. It may be just too, too
difficult," but Hammarberg
               said he was hopeful -- "I think something will happen." 

               If there is enough evidence -- and Hammerberg noted that
like the Nazis in
               World War II, the Khmer Rouge left substantial documentation
of their activities
               -- he expects the experts to recommend how to proceed. 

               Hammarberg said he envisioned two options: for the
Cambodians themselves to
               start a trial with international assistance, or for the
international community to set
               up a tribunal in the Netherlands similar to the one for

               "For the sake of the Cambodians, it would be interesting if
it could take place
               there, or very close, because it's a question of catharsis
-- for them to see justice
               is made," he said. 

               The experts will determine if prosecutions should be under
the genocide
               convention, for crimes against humanity, or under some other
statute, he said. 

               Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced the appointment of
the three experts
               in July: former Australian Gov. Gen. Sir Ninian Stephen, who
served on the
               Yugoslav tribunal and was named chairman; Rajsoomer Lallah,
the U.N.'s
               human rights investigator for Myanmar; and Stephen Ratner, a
professor at the
               University of Texas Law School. 

               The three have been at the United Nations reading documents
and attending
               briefings, and will arrive in Phnom Penh on Nov. 14,
Hammarberg said. They
               are expected to submit their recommendations by the end of
January, he said. 

               During a meeting last week, Hammarberg said King Sihanouk
told him, "I want
               this to happen." He said Hun Sen, the de facto leader of
Cambodia, is also very
               much in favor of bringing the Khmer Rouge leaders to justice
-- as are
               opposition leaders including Sam Rainsy and Prince Norodom

               Many of the former Maoist-inspired Khmer Rouge guerrillas
ended years of civil
               war in 1996. Their chief, Ieng Sary, received a pardon in
exchange for halting
               the fighting and leading his men out of the jungle. Amnesty
has also been granted
               to other top guerrillas to make peace. 

               But three high-ranking holdouts are still roaming the Thai
border with a few
               hundred guerrillas and remain wanted. Longtime Khmer Rouge
leader Pol Pot
               died in April, reportedly of a heart attack. 

                 Copyright 1998& The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
This material may not be
                             published, broadcast, rewritten, or


                            © 1998 Cable News Network, Inc. A Time Warner
                       All Rights Reserved. Terms under which this
information is provided to you.
                                     Read our privacy guidelines.

                               Custom News is built on  technology.