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UN still awaiting clarification from Cambodia on proposed Khmer Rouge tribunal

UN still awaiting clarification from Cambodia on proposed Khmer Rouge tribunal

A United Nations spokesman said today that contrary to press reports citing statements by Cambodian officials, the world body was still awaiting clarifications from Phnom Penh concerning a number of points raised earlier by a top UN legal official about a proposed tribunal to try Khmer Rouge leaders.

Spokesman Fred Eckhard noted that the Reuters news agency had quoted a top Cambodian official as saying that the Government was about to send a second formal request to the UN asking it to approve legislation setting up a Khmer Rouge tribunal and inviting UN Legal Counsel Hans Corell to sign an agreement allowing the establishment of the long-awaited court. There was also another report that said the UN failed to respond to an earlier request, the spokesman added.

According to Mr. Corell, if the statement correctly reflected what the Cambodian official said, then it was not an accurate report, Mr. Eckhard told journalists at a UN press briefing in New York.

The UN Legal Counsel received on 31 August 2001 the English translation of the law as adopted, Mr. Eckhard said. Mr. Corell responded in a letter on 10 October, raising a number of points about the legislation.

On 26 November, Mr. Corell received a letter dated 23 November from his counterpart commenting on the points raised and indicating that a detailed response would follow, Mr. Eckhard said. On 18 December, Mr. Corell reminded his counterpart that the UN still had not received the Government's views.

"The matter, therefore, is with the Government of Cambodia and it is important to have a clear view from the Government as to all the points raised before a visit to Phnom Penh would be fruitful," Mr. Eckhard said.