Annan says Khmer Rouge trials cannot start until UN-Cambodia MOU is ratified

27 June 2001

Noting recent media statements on the possibility that trials of Khmer Rouge leaders in Cambodia could begin this year, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today that no trials could start until a Memorandum of Understanding between the United Nations and Cambodia is signed and ratified.

In a statement issued through his spokesman, Mr. Annan reiterated that it is the Cambodian Government's responsibility to ensure that the enabling law for the trials is enacted by the Cambodian Parliament "in a timely manner," while noting that this legislation has to be in conformity with the Memorandum of Understanding.

The statement recalled that when the UN Legal Counsel, Under-Secretary-General Hans Corell, visited Phnom Penh in July 2000, he had reached an understanding on the basic parameters of the relationship between the UN and the Government on establishing special chambers in national courts to try the leaders. At the time, Mr. Corell presented the Government with a draft Memorandum of Understanding that would govern that relationship.

"The Government of Cambodia has not yet signed the Memorandum of Understanding," the statement said. "Furthermore, according to information given to the Legal Counsel, this instrument would also have to be ratified by the Parliament of Cambodia."


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