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Hun Sen Accused Over Khmer Rouge

August 9, 1999

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) _ Cambodia’s opposition accused Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government Monday of shielding Khmer Rouge leaders from prosecution by pushing for a delay in the trial planned for one of them.

The Sam Rainsy Party sharply criticized draft legislation that calls for the limits on detention without trial to be extended to three years, if suspects are charged with genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes. Currently, suspects are supposed to be tried within six months of their arrests.

The legislation will be debated, and likely passed, by the National Assembly on Wednesday.

The draft law was conceived by Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party as a Sept. 9 trial deadline approaches for jailed Khmer Rouge guerrilla chief Ta Mok.

Hun Sen publicly pushed for passage of the bill, sowing fresh doubts that any Khmer Rouge will face trial for the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people during the group’s 1975-79 rule.

Except for Ta Mok and prison chief Kaing Khek Iev, every surviving Khmer Rouge leader is living freely in Cambodia after negotiating defection deals that led to the dissolution of the radical movement.

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