Cambodia Reluctant to Change Laws
Feb. 12, 2002
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) _ Cambodia expressed dismay Tuesday at the United Nations' decision to pull out of a genocide tribunal for Khmer Rouge leaders, but gave no indication it will amend its laws to woo back the world body.
``We have made concession after concession; now you ask if we can make more _ I think this is not the time to make more concessions,'' Sok An, the government's chief negotiator with the United Nations on the tribunal, said at a news conference.
After nearly five years of negotiations, the United Nations announced Friday that it will not take part in a proposed tribunal to be run by Cambodian and foreign judges and prosecutors. The United Nations said the tribunal, as outlined under Cambodian law, would not be impartial or able to meet international standards.
The U.N. had complained that Khmer Rouge leaders who previously received pardons would be immune to prosecution. The law also lacked any provision guaranteeing that defendants could choose their lawyers, New York-based Human Rights Watch said.
Sok An's statement was the government's first formal response to the action by the United Nations, echoing earlier comments by top officials.
The communist Khmer Rouge was responsible for the deaths of at least 1.7 million people from disease, starvation, overwork and execution during its 1975-79 rule.