Wednesday, December 07, 2005

UN Officials Due in Cambodia to Discuss Preparations for Khmer Rouge Trials

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP)

A team of U.N. officials was set to arrive in Cambodia Tuesday to look into preparations for a tribunal to prosecute surviving leaders of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime, a spokeswoman said.

The seven-member U.N. delegation will meet with the government's Khmer Rouge trial team, diplomats and representatives of civil society to discuss logistics and staffing, and look at the condition of the tribunal site, said Anne-Marie Ibanez, the spokeswoman for the team.

The Khmer Rouge was responsible for the death of some 1.7 million people from starvation, disease, overwork and execution during its four-year dictatorial reign over Cambodia in late 1970s. Its leader, Pol Pot, died in 1998, but several of his top deputies, aging and infirm, still live freely in Cambodia.

The trials _ for genocide and crimes against humanity _ will be carried out under the jurisdiction of the Cambodian court system with help from the international community.

Attempts to open the trials before the remaining leaders die of old age have been hampered by Cambodia's inability to find donors to help finance its US$13.3 million (€11.4 million) share of the US$43 million (€36.4 million) tribunal costs.

The U.N. was expected to select foreign judges for the tribunal this week. Cambodia has not yet announced its selection of judges, but once that is done, "we will move along" with the trials, Ibanez said.


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