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Khmer Rouge Court Closer To Fruition

Khmer Rouge Court Closer To Fruition After Cambodia's Notification To UN

A special court to try the aging leaders of the Khmer Rouge is one step closer to fruition now that Cambodia has complied with the legal requirements for its agreement with the United Nations to enter into force.

The UN has yet to provide Phnom Penh with its own reciprocal notification of compliance, which is needed for the agreement to go into effect, Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in an addendum to his report to the General Assembly on the Khmer Rouge trials.

That notification, Mr. Annan writes, will depend on whether sufficient money is in place to fund the staffing and operations of the Extraordinary Chambers for the trials for a sustained period of time. He says that condition will be met once pledges have been made for the Chambers' three years of operations - but only after actual contributions for its first year have been received.

In May 2003 the General Assembly authorized the UN to help Cambodia set up and run two Extraordinary Chambers in the new tribunal to "prosecute those most responsible for crimes and serious violations of Cambodian and international law between 17 April 1975 and 6 January 1979."

One Chamber will be a trial court and the other will be a Supreme Court within the existing Cambodian justice system, staffed with a mix of international and Cambodian judges.

According to the agreement, which stresses the impartiality and independence of the prospective jurists, decisions in the two Chambers would be taken by a majority of four judges in the trial court and five judges in the Supreme Court.

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