News / Asia

    Cambodian Premier says No More Khmer Rouge Trials

    Cambodian President Hun Sen, left and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon inspect honor guard in Phnom Penh, 27 Oct 2010
    Cambodian President Hun Sen, left and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon inspect honor guard in Phnom Penh, 27 Oct 2010
    Robert Carmichael

    Camdodia's prime minister says the four former Khmer Rouge leaders awaiting trial next year would be the last to be prosecuted. 

    Unilateral decision

    Hun Sen put not one, but two, shots across the bow of the United Nations, during a meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who arrived late Tuesday on a two-day official visit.

    The first shot was that he was against allowing the international war crimes court in Phnom Penh to prosecute any more former Khmer Rouge members.

    The court is a hybrid U.N.-Cambodian tribunal, funded mainly by donations from U.N. member states.

    The second shot - the prime minister wants the United Nations to shut its local human rights office, after firing the office's country head, Christophe Peschoux.

    UN reaction

    Ban is not scheduled to speak to the media until Thursday, but his spokesman, Yves Sorokobi spoke to VOA.

    He says matters of staffing are purely the preserve of the United Nations, and the organization stands by all of its staff, including Peschoux.  But when it comes to the matter of the office itself, that is a matter of bilateral cooperation.  And that means if Cambodia no longer wants a U.N. human rights office, then in the long term there is not much the United Nations can do about that.

    "This has been a matter of bilateral cooperation," noted Sorokobi. "The secretary-general in his meeting with the prime minister today discussed this matter.  There was no decision made there by the secretary-general, and I believe that now that the government has made its position clear, the secretary-general will consult."

    Tribunal's work

    The Khmer Rouge tribunal began its work in 2006, and earlier this year sentenced Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Comrade Duch, the defendant in the first case, to 30 years for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    It is scheduled to begin the second case, against four former leaders of the movement next year.

    International investigators had opened dockets into another five unnamed former Khmer Rouge, and those five constituted Cases Three and Four.

    But today Prime Minister Hun Sen effectively shot those down.

    Reasoning behind decision

    Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith told VOA that Hun Sen is against those cases for several reasons.

    He says the prime minister believes those being investigated were not high-ranking members in the Khmer Rouge and their prosecutions would fall outside the deal between the United Nations and Cambodia to establish a tribunal in the first place.

    "The second reason [is] he said that the primary goal of setting up this court, is first to find justice for the Cambodian people, and two is to preserve the peace and political stability in the country," Kanharith said.

    Despite the prime minister's declaration the second trial will be the last, Sorokobi says the United Nations stands committed to the idea of judicial independence at the court.

    "Again, this is a matter for the court officials, for the independent councilors to decide, and we have to give them the space that they need to make the proper decision.  There should be no political interference with their work," Sorokobi said.

    Accountability

    Later, Mr. Ban told the staff at the war crimes tribunal headquarters outside Phnom Penh he is firmly resolved those kinds of acts the Khmer Rouge is accused of should never happen again.

    He said accountability, justice and the fight against impunity were the standards during his tenure as secretary-general.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.