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Negotiations resume in Khmer Rouge tribunal.

Cambodian and international officials convened in a hotel conference room to negotiate the ground rules for the special courts to try members of the Khmer Rouge regime for crimes against humanity.  The Khmer Rouge Tribunal is a mixed regime, with Cambodia holding jurisdiction under international assistance.  The proceedings have been under negotiation since a bill was introduced in Cambodian legislation in 1999 to enact the mixed system.

The Khmer Rouge was an extremist Communist power that was the ruling party, under Pol Pot, in Cambodia from 1975-1979.  The Khmer Rouge sought to establish a "New People" through isolation from outside influence.  They tried to exploit communist ideals to create a classless society by way of an agrarian utopia through isolation, hard labor, and extermination.  Following a Vietnamese ouster, the Khmer Rouge leaders were accused of the torture, starvation, and mass slaughter of over 1.7 million Cambodians, or nearly a quarter of the country's population.  Many of the key former leaders of the Khmer Rouge, including Pol Pot, have died and many are in their late 70's.  Only one, however, Kang Kek Ieu ("Duch"), chief executioner for the Khmer Rouge, is in custody.

The status of the court hangs in jeopardy.  The mixed nature of the tribunal has been the major issue of contention.  International monitors insist that international standards of justice be observed in all manners of the system, while Cambodian officials argue that their jurisdiction should hold precedent over the proceedings.   The Cambodian officials are accused of attempting to limit the scope of the investigations due to Khmer Rouge sympathetic views.  International officials have threatened to quit the tribunal if negotiations break down further.




Daniel Graeber

Daniel Graeber is a writer for United Press International covering Iraq, Afghanistan and the broader Levant. He has published works on international and constitutional law pertaining to US terrorism cases and on child soldiers. His first major work, entitled The United States and Israel: The Implications of Alignment, is featured in the text, Strategic Interests in the Middle East: Opposition or Support for US Foreign Policy. He holds a MA in Diplomacy and International Conflict Management from Norwich University, where his focus was international relations theory, international law, and the role of non-state actors.

Areas of Focus:International law; Middle East; Government and Politics; non-state actors