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First Effort to Try Cambodia's Khme
- Subject: First Effort to Try Cambodia's Khme
- From: suriya@xxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 20:05:00
Subject: First Effort to Try Cambodia's Khmer Rouge Begins
First Effort to Try Cambodia's
Khmer Rouge Begins
PHNOM PENH, Nov 14 (Reuters) - The first member of a special
arrived in Cambodia on Saturday to study the possibility of
bringing to trial
Khmer Rouge leaders held responsible for the deaths of an
estimated 1.7 million
The arrival of Sir Ninian Stephen, a judge and former
Australia, marked the launch of the first effort by the
international community to
bring to justice those responsible for the 1975-79 Khmer
Rouge "killing fields"
reign of terror.
Stephen, who until last year was a member of the Hague-based
crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, declined to
discuss his mission or his
agenda in Cambodia with reporters.
He will be joined by two other international jurists,
Rajsoomer Lallah, a judge
from Mauritius, and Stephen Ratner, an international law
professor from the
United States, and his trip will last seven or eight days,
The panel was appointed by U.N. secretary general Kofi Annan
request from the Cambodian government in June last year for
help in setting up a
tribunal for Khmer Rouge leaders.
Stephen and his colleagues are expected to meet a range of
government leaders in their efforts to assess the evidence
for a possible tribunal.
Annan said earlier this year the team would also assess "the
feasibility of bringing
Khmer Rouge leaders to justice, their apprehension,
detention and extradition or
surrender to the criminal jurisdiction established."
Almost 20 years after the radical communists were forced
from power, remnants
of the Khmer Rouge are still holding out in remote hills on
the border with
Khmer Rouge chief Pol Pot died in a rebel village on April
15 but most of his
top comrades are still alive, either at large on the Thai
border or living inside
Cambodia after defecting to the government.
"Nothing has been done so far on the tremendous crimes
1975-1979," Annan's special representative for human rights
Thomas Hammarberg, told reporters at the United Nations in
New York earlier
"No one has been arrested for these crimes, there hasn't
even been an apology,
even by those who have recently defected to the government,"
King Norodom Sihanouk and the government back the proposed
though some analysts question how many people the
government, which includes
many former members of the Khmer Rouge, wants to see brought
The government has said it wants to see Khmer Rouge military
chief Ta Mok
and two of Pol Pot's top henchmen, Khieu Samphan and Nuon
to justice. Khmer Rouge researchers say at least two former
top Khmer Rouge
officials who have defected to the government also have
cases to answer,
including their one-time foreign minister, Ieng Sary.
Hammarberg has declined to say who should be brought to
justice. He said one
of the team's tasks would be too see how far any tribunal
should "cast the net."
The United States backs the proposal to try to bring Khmer
Rouge leaders to
justice, but the group's former main backer China, has
Stephen and his colleagues are expected to deliver a
recommendation to Annan
and the Cambodian government by January.
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