Press Releases

    SG/SM/7868
    28 June 2001

    SECRETARY-GENERAL CLARIFIES POSITION ON
    CAMBODIAN GOVERNMENT RESPONSIBILITY
    FOR TRIALS OF FORMER KHMER ROUGE LEADERS

    NEW YORK, 27 June (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

    During the past few days, representatives of the Government of Cambodia have been quoted in the media as having indicated that the law to create special chambers in the national courts of Cambodia to try the former Khmer Rouge leaders could be enacted by August, and that the chambers could start functioning by the end of the year. The Secretary-General would like to make the following clarifications.

    The Secretary-General would like to state again that it is the responsibility of the Government of Cambodia to ensure that the enabling law is enacted by the Parliament of Cambodia in a timely manner. However, this legislation has to be in conformity with a Memorandum of Understanding to be signed between the United Nations and the Government of Cambodia.

    When the Legal Counsel of the United Nations, Hans Corell, visited Phnom Penh in July 2000, he had reached an understanding on the basic parameters of the relationship between the United Nations and the Government of Cambodia, regarding the establishment of the special chambers. The Legal Counsel presented the Government with a draft Memorandum of Understanding that would govern that relationship. The Government of Cambodia has not yet signed the Memorandum of Understanding. Furthermore, according to information given to the Legal Counsel, this instrument would have to be ratified by the Parliament of Cambodia.

    The United Nations stands ready to assist the Government of Cambodia. However, no trials can start until the Memorandum of Understanding is signed and ratified.

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