Details of UN, Cambodia text on Khmer Rouge trials reported to General Assembly

7 April 2003

Although the text of a draft agreement between the United Nations and the Government of Cambodia on a special court to try former Khmer Rouge leaders is a "considerable improvement" over previous documents, doubts might still remain as to whether it would ensure the credibility of the tribunal given the precarious state of that country's judiciary, the Secretary-General says in a report released today.

Although the text of a draft agreement between the United Nations and the Government of Cambodia on a special court to try former Khmer Rouge leaders is a "considerable improvement" over previous documents, doubts might still remain as to whether it would ensure the credibility of the tribunal given the precarious state of that country's judiciary, the Secretary-General says in a report released today.

Should the agreement enter into force, the Secretary-General says, it would be essential that the United Nations help to ensure that the special court function in a manner that conforms with the accord and complies with international standards. "I would therefore propose that, in that eventuality, the Organization should remain engaged in the process of overseeing the implementation of the draft agreement," he writes.

Last month, a UN delegation led by Legal Counsel Hans Corell met with Cambodian officials in Phnom Penh to negotiate a draft agreement concerning the prosecution under Cambodia law of crimes committed during the period of Democratic Kampuchea. That mission followed the start of exploratory talks between the two sides in January at UN Headquarters in New York.

The report to the General Assembly also describes the financial, logistical and personnel requirements of the Extraordinary Chambers. While it presents options for financing the UN's assistance, the report concludes that assessed contributions are the only mechanism that would be viable and sustainable and that would ensure the court's early establishment and prompt start of operations.

 

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