Friday, September 30, 2005

Cambodia trial details discussed

Thursday December 9, 2004

PHNOM PENH: The last details of how former Khmer Rouge leaders will be tried for their roles in the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians should be thrashed out by the end of the year, a United Nations official said yesterday.

A major issue is finding the US$57mil (RM216.6mil) the UN estimates will be needed to try the remaining cohorts of Pol Pot, who are in their 60s and 70s and most of them living quiet retirement.

“There are some details remaining and we would like to go through them in order to plan on how we start as soon as possible,” UN coordinator Mohammed Said told reporters on arrival from New York for two days of talks.

The UN has said the court must have in hand all the money it will need for its first year of operation, as well as pledges from international donors for enough funding to pay for an additional two years.

But Said said his team would submit a report to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on its return to New York and he would call a donors' meeting if satisfied with all the details.

Australia, Japan and France have said they are willing to contribute to the costs of trials expected to start next year and need 2,000 staff, including foreign judges and prosecutors.
The trials of the remaining leaders of Pol Pot's 1975-79 “Killing Fields” regime, who face life in jail, have been long in the making.

Cambodia's parliament only ratified a pact with the UN on the issue in October after six years of tortuous negotiations.

Pol Pot, Brother Number One who was the architect of a regime which emptied cities and killed people through execution, starvation and overwork, died in 1998.
About 10 of his colleagues are expected to face trial. Brother Number Two Nuon Chea, then head of state Khieu Samphan and Foreign Minister Ieng Sary, granted a royal pardon in 1996, are free.

Only two top members of the regime are in custody awaiting trial – military chief Ta Mok and Duch, head of the notorious Tual Sleng interrogation centre. –Reuters

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