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Wednesday, 13 February, 2002, 01:10 GMT
Cambodia rejects UN tribunal demands
Victim's skulls on display at genocide museum
More than 1.7 million people died under the regime
The Cambodian Government has said it will make no further concessions to the United Nations on the setting up of a planned joint tribunal to try Khmer Rouge leaders for crimes against humanity.

The chief negotiator, Sok An, issued a statement saying Cambodia had already made concession after concession and it was not the time to make more.

On the Cambodian side the door remains open to a resumption of negotiations... but we can't keep it open for months or years

Sok An
Chief negotiator
He expressed his dismay at what he called the completely unexpected announcement by the UN on Friday that it was withdrawing its support because the court would not guarantee the independence and impartiality the UN required.

But he reiterated that the door remained open and said he hoped the UN would change its mind.

Shock decision

"It is not the time to talk about more concessions. Many concession have been made and they have been hard decisions. So now we cannot talk about unilateral concessions," Mr Sok An said.

"On the Cambodian side the door remains open to a resumption of negotiations... but we can't keep it open for months or years," he added.

Pol Pot
Pol Pot oversaw the genocide

On Friday Hans Corell, the UN chief legal counsel announced the UN decision to end talks on the establishment of a tribunal after four and a half years.

The UN has been pressing Cambodia to bring former Khmer Rouge leaders to trial for atrocities carried out during their rule between 1975 and 1979.

During the "killing fields" regime, 1.7 million people died through execution, torture, starvation and hard labour.

Sticking point

Decades later none of the former Khmer Rouge leaders have stood trial for crimes committed during their rule.

Foreign diplomats and Cambodians have expressed shock at the UN's decision.

"We don't understand the decision 100%. But my conclusion is that Mr Hans Corell is busy with work in Afghanistan and Sierra Leone. He may not be interested in Cambodia," Mr Sok An said.

A key sticking point in the negotiations appears to have been the Cambodian Government's insistence that national law would take precedence over the agreement with the UN in the trials.

There was also disagreement on who should go on trial - Cambodia wants to restrict prosecution to about 10 selected Khmer Rouge figures.

See also:

11 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
Cambodia urges UN rethink on trials
09 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
Cambodia defies UN over genocide court
16 Nov 01 | Asia-Pacific
Khmer Rouge leaders to stay in jail
10 Aug 01 | Asia-Pacific
King signs Khmer Rouge trial law
07 Aug 01 | Asia-Pacific
Pol Pot's lieutenants
14 Apr 00 | Asia-Pacific
Pol Pot: Life of a tyrant
02 Jan 01 | Asia-Pacific
Masters of the killing fields
13 Jan 01 | From Our Own Correspondent
Cambodia: Life after death
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