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Cambodia to Send Delegation to UN for Talks on Khmer Rouge Tribunal - 2002-12-24

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said he will send a delegation to the United Nations early next month to discuss a proposed Khmer Rouge tribunal.

Hun Sen said chief government negotiator Sok An will take a delegation to New York on January 6. The Cambodian prime minister said he recently received a letter from U.N. General Secretary Kofi Annan, inviting the government for a meeting at United Nations headquarters.

According to Mr. Hun Sen, the meeting is to pave the way for negotiations in Phnom Penh on creating a tribunal to bring the Khmer Rouge to justice.

The United Nation approved a resolution last week to resume negotiations on setting up a tribunal.

The extreme Marxist Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia in the late 1970s and is responsible for killing some two million people by execution, starvation and disease. None of its surviving leaders have been charged with any offenses during their brutal government.

Early this year, the U.N. walked out of negotiations, saying that a Cambodian law to create a tribunal did not ensure "international standards" of court procedure.

Human rights groups warned the United Nations against passing the resolution, saying it failed to "provide a basis to establish a viable and credible judicial process." The rights groups lobbied for the passage of another, tougher, resolution.

No date has been set for U.N. negotiators to return to Phnom Penh, but the resolution calls for talks to restart "without delay." It also asks for a report on the negotiations within 90 days of the resolution's adoption.