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

U.N. Experts to Decide whether to B

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

If they bring the Khmer Rouge to justice, they MUST also bring the
SLORC / SPDC leaders to justice for their atrocities in the past 30 +

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

            "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
            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
            could take place there, or very close, because it's a
            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.
            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

            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 Ranariddh. 

            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.