Friday, September 30, 2005

U.N. team arrives in Cambodia for talks on Khmer Rouge tribunal

Wednesday December 8, 13:20 PM

(Kyodo) _ A U.N. delegation arrived in Cambodia on Wednesday to wrap up details of the budget and security for the planned tribunal to try leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime.

Upon arrival at Phnom Penh airport, the six-member delegation led by Mohammed Said, U.N. coordinator for the Khmer Rouge trial, told reporters a lot of things have been done in addition to budget and security.

"We look forward to working out details," Said said.

The United Nations and Cambodia have estimated the planned three-year trial would cost $57 million, but some foreign donors have insisted on reducing the cost as much as possible before they are to grant funds for the trial, said Sean Visoth, executive secretary of the government's Khmer Rouge tribunal task force.

"I think this is the last working trip to Cambodia by the U.N. team as everything will be worked out before they will return home on Saturday," he said.

The U.N. coordinator said the team will brief U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan on the outcome of the latest visit soon after returning to New York. He also said he hopes Annan will meet with donors before the end of the year.

The Cambodian government did not ask foreign donors to fund the tribunal at an annual Consultative Group donors' meeting, which was held Monday and Tuesday in Phnom Penh.
"Due to the special characteristic of this task (to set up the tribunal), I am of the view that we should apply a different mechanism rather than this CG meeting to further discuss the issue and seek necessary resources for the implementation," Prime Minister Hun Sen said at the conference attended by 16 countries and seven international organizations.
So far, France and Japan have expressed intentions to make voluntary contributions in the amount of $1 million and $3 million, respectively, for the first year of the tribunal, while Australia has pledged A$3 million (US$2.1 million).

After six years of negotiations, Cambodia and the United Nations signed an agreement in June 2003 to set up the tribunal to try former Khmer Rouge leaders on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity during the regime's 1975-1979 rule.

They are said responsible for the deaths of at least 1.7 million people.

All three surviving top Khmer Rouge leaders -- Ieng Sary, Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea -- are in their late 70s and live freely in the country. Supreme Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot died in 1998.

Only two senior Khmer Rouge figures are in custody -- former military commander Ta Mok and Kaing Khek Ieu, better known as Duch, who ran a Khmer Rouge torture and interrogation center in Phnom Penh.

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