Proleung Khmer

Friday, April 29, 2005

KR Tribunal soon?

The EU agreed to help $1.3 million toward the cost of $56 million for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. Will we see the trial taken place some day? The Khmer people need closure.


  • Radio Australia - News - EU pledges $US1.3 million to Cambodia's Khmer Rouge trial

    Last Updated 29/04/2005, 22:49:36

    The European Commission has pledged $US1.3 million dollars towards a United Nations-backed trial of surviving leaders of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge regime.

    Since a March appeal by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, donor nations have pledged more than $US40 million dollars towards the three-year trial, about three million short of the UN's portion of the $US56 million budget.

    Cambodia, which is destitute after nearly three decades of conflict, is to fund the remaining $US13 million for the tribunal and has appealed for donor assistance.

    Pol Pot's ultra-Maoist regime ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979, overseeing the deaths of up to two million people as they pursued an agrarian utopia, emptying cities and turning the countryside into a vast labour camp.

    Pol Pot himself died in 1998.

    The government hopes that if funding for the tribunal is secured quickly, prosecution investigations could begin this year.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:04 AM  

  • Agreement between UN and Cambodia on Khmer Rouge trials takes effect

    29 April 2005 – An agreement between the United Nations and Cambodia to set
    up a special court to try the ageing leaders of the Khmer Rouge took effect
    today, paving the way for the tribunal to begin operations.

    Secretary-General Kofi Annan notified Prime Minister Hun Sen in a letter
    yesterday that the UN has fulfilled its legal requirements under the
    agreement approved by the General Assembly in 2003. Cambodia sent its
    notification to the UN in November.

    According to a UN press statement, sufficient pledges and contributions
    were now in place to fund the staffing of the two Extraordinary Chambers –
    one court will conduct the trials of those accused of killing thousands of
    civilians during the 1970s while the other will hear appeals within the
    existing justice system – and their operations for a sustained period of

    The three-year budget for the trials is about $56.3 million, of which $43
    million is to be paid by the UN and $13.3 million by the Government of
    Cambodia. A pledging conference last month raised about $38.5 million of
    the UN share.

    “The Secretary-General reaffirms that the United Nations looks forward to
    the expeditious implementation of the agreement, and no efforts will be
    spared on his part to help ensure that the extraordinary chambers and their
    related institutions are established as soon as possible and that they
    begin to function promptly,” the statement said. “Administrative
    arrangements in this regard are now under way.”[End]

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:38 PM  

  • BBC News
    30 April 2005

    Khmer Rouge court gets go-ahead
    A tribunal to try Cambodia's Khmer Rouge leaders can finally begin to be
    set up, the United Nations has said.

    Enough money has been received from international donors to fund work at
    the court for a "sustained period of time", the UN said in a statement.

    The Communist regime which ruled from 1975-79 is believed to have killed at
    least 1.7 million people out of an eight million-strong population.

    Cambodia first sought UN funding for the court eight years ago.

    UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged the Cambodian to move fast now that
    the money is in place.

    Still free

    There are concerns that the ageing top figures of the murderous regime, who
    have never been prosecuted, might die before being taken to court.

    Observers expect the first trials to begin by next year.

    The regime, headed by Pol Pot, persecuted its political opponents as well
    as minority groups.

    They allowed food shortages to kill people by starvation, while others were
    forced to move from the cities into the countryside, where they died from
    overwork in labour camps.

    Pol Pot died in 1998, and only two of his six to 10 former top lieutenants
    are currently in jail.

    The Cambodian government and the UN had agreed that the setting up of the
    court could start once pledges sufficient to cover the body's work for the
    next three years had been received.

    At a donor's conference last month, UN members pledged a total $38m, $21.6m
    of which came from Japan.

    Cambodia has allocated $13m.

    Cambodians have never really confronted the horrors of the Khmer Rouge, the
    BBC's Asia correspondent, Andrew Harding, reports.

    Some observers have questioned whether an expensive tribunal is the answer
    or whether a broader approach, like South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation
    Commission, would serve Cambodians better.[End]

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:14 PM  

  • UN ready for Khmer Rouge trial

    CAMBODIA has welcomed the UN announcement clearing the way for a long-awaited tribunal to try leaders of the former Khmer Rouge regime, 30 years after the start of the genocide that swept the country.

    UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's decision removes the last obstacle to creating the controversial tribunal to put on trial those most responsible for the deaths of up to 2million people.
    "We welcome Kofi Annan's statement," Cambodian spokesman Khieu Kanharith said yesterday in Phnom Penh. "We want the tribunal to be formed as soon as possible."

    The UN said it had received enough donations and pledges to fund the tribunal, titled the Extraordinary Chambers, "for a sustained period of time".

    The announcement follows years of debate, feuding and delays.

    Cambodia and the UN agreed in 2003 that the tribunal would be organised once pledges for three years of operations and contributions of cash to cover the first year were received.

    Only those leaders considered most responsible for the genocide will be tried for the crimes committed during the period the Khmer Rouge ruled the country from April 17, 1975, to January 6, 1979.

    With judges and prosecutors still to be named, and investigations expected to take up to 12 months, trials could possibly begin some time next year.

    Since an appeal by Mr Annan in March, donor nations have pledged more than $US40million ($50million) towards the cost of three-year proceedings, about $US3million short of the UN's portion of the estimated $US56million budget. Cambodia, which is poverty-stricken after almost three decades of conflict that finally ended seven years ago, is to fund the remaining $US13million for the tribunal, and has appealed for donor assistance.

    The US has refused to contribute any money to the proceedings.

    Critics and human rights activists have condemned the tribunal, which requires one international judge to agree with a Cambodian majority to secure a conviction, arguing that it remains too open to political influence in a country with a notoriously corrupt judiciary.

    The Khmer Rouge, led by dictator Pol Pot, seized power in 1975, launching a reign of terror as they pursued an agrarian utopia, forcing Cambodians out of cities and turning the countryside into a vast labour camp.

    Helen Jarvis, a senior adviser to the Cambodian taskforce preparing the trials, said yesterday that the UN announcement meant the final obstacle to setting up the tribunals had been cleared.

    "This is it – now we just have to set up the chambers and do the work," she said.

    The next practical step will be for Cambodia and the UN to nominate senior administrative officials who will oversee the tribunal's creation.

    "Then there will be the asking of countries to nominate the judges and also on the Cambodian side, and the beginning of work on alterations to the premises," Ms Jarvis said.

    Pol Pot eluded justice, and died in 1998 at 73, while only two of the six to 10 former leaders expected to be put on trial are in jail, with the remainder living freely in Cambodia.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:28 AM  

  • Sun May 1,12:10 AM ET

    PHNOM PENH (AFP) - Thirty years after the genocidal Khmer Rouge took power, justice for millions of victims has inched closer as the United Nations cleared the way for a tribunal to try the regime's top surviving leaders.

    Youk Chhang, who heads a centre compiling evidence of Khmer Rouge atrocities, told AFP that the announcement represented "the beginning of a new chapter of Cambodian history."

    "Even after 30 years it's important for the victims to see the government respond to demands for justice. Even after 30 years, it's not too late to find justice for the survivors of the genocide," he said.

    The United Nations announced Friday that the so-called Extraordinary Chambers to try those most responsible for the deaths of up to two million people could go ahead after years of debate, feuding and delays.

    Pol Pot's ultra-Maoist Khmer Rouge regime seized control of Cambodia in 1975, beginning a tragic experiment that ended up killing up to one third of the population through torture, starvation, disease or exhaustion from the Khmer Rouge's forced labor and internal purges.

    Although they were ousted by the Vietnamese in 1979, remnants fought on until 1998, the same year Pol Pot died aged 73 after being purged by a rival, dividing the nation and leaving behind a population that remains traumatised.

    Defendants at the trials are expected to include top leaders from Pol Pot's regime including Nuon Chea and Ieng Sary, who both live freely in northeastern Cambodia.

    "At last!" Chea Vannath, president of the non-government organisation, Centre for Social Development, said of the announcement. Her group has carried out surveys showing that most Cambodians support holding some kind of tribunal.

    With judges and prosecutors still to be named, and investigations expected to take up to 12 months, trials could begin some time next year.

    "I am glad to hear the process is moving forward. And because preparations have taken a long time, it means all parties concerned should have had enough time to look for any flaw, mistake or difficulty it might encounter," she said.

    Some Cambodians have been campaigning for decades for an international tribunal. In 1997, the government asked for UN assistance to set one up. Tortuous negotiations finally led to an agreement six years later.

    Under the pact, the still-controversial tribunal was to be organised once pledges for three years of operations and actual contributions for the first year were received. It is expected to cost 56 million dollars.

    The United States is refusing to fund the tribunal, largely because of Cambodia's infamously corrupt judicial system.

    It is also uneasy about what may be revealed of its role supplying arms to the Khmer Rouge after its 1979 ousting. Amid Cold War politics, the United States supported the Khmer Rouge keeping a seat at the United Nations, even with knowledge of its atrocities.

    The other four permanent members of the UN Security Council are also edgy. Together they offered recognition to the Khmer Rouge as Cambodia's legitimate government for years after it was toppled.

    Activists have condemned the tribunal's format which requires one international judge to agree with a Cambodian majority to secure a conviction. They argue the formula remains too open to political influence.

    Some government officials, despite their public stance, are ambivalent about the process because they fear revelations about their own pasts.

    As well, some ordinary Cambodians fear it may reopen wounds and be too divisive.

    Those arguing for a tribunal emphasise the need for justice to be served in order to stop Cambodia's current culture of impunity, to see the rule of law established, and to set an example to the younger generation.

    About six ageing former leaders are expected to be tried. Two of them are held in Phnom Penh jails but the remainder live freely in Cambodia. None of the alleged mass murderers has expressed regret about their roles in the bloodshed.

    Chea Vannath cautioned that Cambodians should still expect the unexpected as the trial moves closer.

    "I wouldn't be surprised if there are problems because they are Extraordinary Chambers, so it's an extraordinary process for the Cambodian people and the government," she said.

    "One goal has been achieved, and it's the beginning of reaching another."

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:30 AM  

  • Tue 3 May 2005

    7:19am (UK)
    Cambodian Leader Makes Khmer Rouge Tribunal Pledge

    Cambodian leader Hun Sen assured his countrymen today that a genocide tribunal to prosecute former Khmer Rouge leaders will be established soon following its approval by the United Nations.

    Nearly eight years after Cambodia approached the UN for help, the Khmer Rouge tribunal was set into motion last week when Secretary-General Kofi Annan said enough money had been raised from donors for the trials and asked the Cambodian government to begin organising them.

    The tribunal will try up to 10 surviving Khmer Rouge leaders, a quarter-century after the regime was ousted in a Vietnam-led resistance in 1979.

    “The light is not at the far end of the tunnel anymore but is closer to the eyes now. No one wants to have Khmer Rouge leaders tried more than we ourselves do,” Prime Minister Hun Sen told a graduation ceremony.

    The radical Maoist-inspired movement, which ruled Cambodia between 1975 and 1979, caused the death of some 1.7 million people through starvation, disease, overwork and execution.

    The movement collapsed in 1999. Its leader Pol Pot died the year before. But no Khmer Rouge leaders have been held accountable for their regime’s atrocities.

    Several of Pol Pot’s top deputies, ageing and infirm, still live in quiet retirement in Cambodia.

    The tribunal, expected to last three years, is estimated to cost about £29.8million.

    The United Nations, responsible for £22.7m, has collected about £20.2million from member states.

    Cambodia is supposed to contribute £7million to the tribunal budget but has said it doesn’t have money to pay.

    Hun Sen said he will visit Japan next week to ask Tokyo to help finance Cambodia’s obligation.

    The surviving Khmer Rouge leaders most likely to be tried are ideological chief Nuon Chea; Khieu Samphan, head of state; Ieng Sary, foreign minister; Ta Mok, army chief; and Kaing Khek Iev, who headed the notorious S-21 prison which is now the genocide museum in Phnom Penh.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:16 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home