Why has it taken so long to prosecute the crimes of the Khmer Rouge period?
History shows that it is very difficult to put people on trial while a war is still in progress. Cambodia first approached the UN for assistance to conduct a trial in 1997. Since the civil war ended in 1998, the Royal Government and the UN have worked together towards implementing a new type of mixed nationalinternational tribunal. It has taken some time to work out the details of this new style of court.
In 1999 the Cambodian Government appointed a Task Force to prepare for the trials and negotiate with the UN. The negotiations with the UN were long and it is true to say that there were some misunderstandings and differences of opinion before both sides agreed in 2003 on the details of international participation.