Prime Minister Hun Sen
Oct 8, 2009
(Post by CAAI News Media)
PHNOM PENH - CAMBODIA'S premier on Thursday questioned why a UN-backed Khmer Rouge war crimes court had summoned six top government and legislative officials as witnesses, describing the move as 'strange'.
In a move opposed by Cambodia's administration, French investigating judge Marcel Lemonde has called the officials to testify in the court's second case against Khmer Rouge leaders for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Prime Minister Hun Sen said he found it 'strange' that the six had been asked to testify as witnesses, as he considered them plaintiffs due to their roles in bringing the late 1970s Khmer Rouge regime to justice.
'Why do they call the plaintiffs to be witnesses? Because those people are known to have toppled (Khmer Rouge leader) Pol Pot and they are also the ones who approved the laws to try the Khmer Rouge,' Mr Hun Sen said. He made the comments in a speech marking 30 years since the national bank was rebuilt after the Khmer Rouge.
The process has been hit by allegations that Hun Sen's administration has attempted to interfere in the tribunal to protect former regime members who are now in government.
Senate president Chea Sim, national assembly president Heng Samrin, foreign minister Hor Namhong, finance minister Keat Chhon and senators Sim Ka and Ouk Bunchhoeun were called last month to testify, the court revealed on Wednesday.
The tribunal's second case is expected to try detained former Khmer Rouge ideologue Nuon Chea, head of state Khieu Samphan, foreign minister Ieng Sary and his wife, minister of social affairs Ieng Thirith. -- AFP