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Cablegate: Un/Ola Team Builds Bridges with Sok an To

VZCZCXRO3559
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHPF #0982/01 3460947
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 110947Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0192
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN PRIORITY 0184
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 2340
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0459
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0657
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 3238
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PHNOM PENH 000982

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, D, P, IO, DRL, S/WCI
USUN PLEASE PASS TO S/WCI AMB. WILLIAMSON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/11/2018
TAGS: PREL KJUS PHUM CB
SUBJECT: UN/OLA TEAM BUILDS BRIDGES WITH SOK AN TO
STRENGTHEN KHMER ROUGE TRIBUNAL

REF: PHNOM PENH 947

Classified By: AMBASSADOR CAROL A. RODLEY FOR REASONS 1.4 (B, D)

1. (C) SUMMARY: During talks in Phnom Penh December 9-10, a
delegation from the UN Office of Legal Affairs (UN/OLA) led
by ASYG Peter Taksoe-Jensen appeared to make significant
progress with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the
Council of Ministers Sok An on the issue of establishing an
internatiOnal-standard mechanism to address corruption on the
administrative side of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal (KRT). The
team was less successful in obtaining certain agreement to
the departure of court administration director Sean Visoth --
at the center of corruption allegations -- although the UN
team took heart in Visoth's continued absence from the court.
A Joint Statement issued December 10 noted the creation of a
joint UN-Cambodian technical committee to "ensure the
administration operates in a transparent, fair and efficient
manner." The committee's main mandate was to strengthen
human resources management, including anti-corruption
measures, while following "due process" and providing "full
protection against retaliation." UN/OLA will now wait for
the results of the committee's work at the end of January.
Taksoe-Jensen said that he believed the KRT could now develop
appropriate anti-corruption mechanisms, and expressed the
hope that Sok An would gauge the seriousness of the UN on the
presence of the court director and take appropriate action.
The talks purposely avoided discussion of new suspects in the
tribunal (reftel). END SUMMARY.

Joint Agreement: "No Corruption"
--------------------------------

2. (C) In a briefing December 10 to eight missions and UN
country staff, UN-ASYG Taksoe-Jensen described his two
separate meetings with DPM Sok An as having a generally good
atmosphere in which both sides agreed there should be no
corruption in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of
Cambodia (ECCC), as the KRT is called. He reviewed a joint
statement to be issued by the two sides later the same
evening (Post is sending copy to the desk), noting that
agreement on the statements on transparency and fairness and
assurances of no retaliation marked a turning point and that
the two sides had "come a long way" since earlier UN-Royal
Government of Cambodia (RGC) exchanges on the subject.
Taksoe-Jensen was accompanied by Nicolas Haysom of the UN
Political Office, who first gave the assembled "core" friends
meeting a blow-by-blow account of the talks with Sok An.

3. (C) DPM Sok An had seven RGC officials in his retinue,
including acting ECCC Director Tony Khran, said Haysom. It
was therefore difficult to speak directly about the UN desire
to see Sean Visoth depart, he said. When pressed on the
proposed departure, Sok An continually returned to the
principle of "due process" -- if the UN could not turn over
the evidence and witness testimony to substantiate the
allegations of corruption against Visoth, the RGC could do
nothing more. Nonetheless, both Haysom and later
Taksoe-Jensen (who had been detained by negotiations with Sok
An over the joint statement) told the group that they
believed they had conveyed the UN's seriousness of purpose
regarding Visoth. (NOTE: Court sources say that Visoth had
returned from a medical leave in Vietnam before the UN/OLA
visit, but then went back to Vietnam again, thus being out of
the country during the delegation's visit. END NOTE.) The
delegates expressed optimism about Visoth's absence but
encouraged all sides to keep the pressure on the RGC to
remove him.

Beyond Expectations
--------------------

4. (C) The Japanese DCM expressed a common view in the
meeting that the UN/OLA's ability to re-engage the government
and to get agreement on a key anti-corruption mechanism went
"beyond expectations." The UK Charge added that it was
important to have the joint committee propose a solid set of
recommendations by the late January deadline and then to act
on them. All parties agreed that more work needed to be done
on the Visoth case.

Comment

PHNOM PENH 00000982 002 OF 002


-------

5. (C) We echo the Japanese sentiments and believe that the
joint UN-RGC statement is a significant achievement, given
the cantankerous exchanges earlier this year and the long
history of bitter relations in the establishment of the KRT.
But we have no doubt that more work will need to be done to
keep the pressure on the RGC to live up to the joint
statement.
RODLEY

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