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Khmer Rouge Tribunal Lawyer: Dispute over Lawyers Fees Should not Derail Cambodian Genocide Trial

The chief defense lawyer for the Khmer Rouge genocide tribunal in Cambodia says a dispute over fees foreign lawyers must pay to take part should not derail the long-stalled trials.

Rupert Skilbeck said Saturday he will try to work with the Cambodian Bar Association to reach an agreement on the proposed fees.

The Bar Association is asking international lawyers to pay at least $2,700 a year to work on the tribunal.

International judges to the tribunal say if the financial demands are not dropped, they may boycott a meeting next month in which the court's rules are to be approved. The trials cannot begin until the rules are in place.

The United Nations and Cambodia agreed in 2003 to establish the tribunal after nearly a decade of negotiations.

The court will prosecute former leaders of the ultra-Maoist Khmer Rouge, which is blamed for the deaths of nearly two million people when it held power in the late 1970s.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.