Cambodia: UN team to help set up war crimes court for Khmer Rouge leaders

Cambodia: UN team to help set up war crimes court for Khmer Rouge leaders

A staff team left United Nations Headquarters in New York today for Cambodia to provide technical and practical help to local officials as they set up and operate a court to try the former leaders of the Khmer Rouge for war crimes.

UN spokesman Fred Eckhard told today's press briefing that the team, which is led by Karsten Harrel, will arrive in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, over the weekend.

The team will hold discussions with Cambodian officials next week before returning to New York the following Saturday.

According to media reports, the Khmer Rouge were responsible for more than 1.7 million deaths, or nearly one in five Cambodians, when they ruled the Southeast Asian nation between 1975 and 1979.

In May, the General Assembly authorized the UN to help Cambodia set up and run two Extraordinary Chambers in the new tribunal. One will be a trial court and the other will be a Supreme Court within the existing Cambodian justice system.