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Last Updated: Saturday, 30 April, 2005, 07:46 GMT 08:46 UK
Khmer Rouge court gets go-ahead
Skulls of victims of the Khmer Rouge regime
The setting up of a tribunal has faced years of delays
A tribunal to try Cambodia's Khmer Rouge leaders can finally begin to be set up, the United Nations has said.

Enough money has been received from international donors to fund work at the court for a "sustained period of time", the UN said in a statement.

The Communist regime which ruled from 1975-79 is blamed for the deaths of more than one million people out of an eight million-strong population.

Cambodia first sought UN funding for the court eight years ago.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged the Cambodian to move fast now that the money is in place.

Still free

There are concerns that the ageing top figures of the murderous regime, who have never been prosecuted, might die before being taken to court.

Observers expect the first trials to begin by next year.

The regime, headed by Pol Pot, persecuted its political opponents as well as minority groups.

They allowed food shortages to kill people by starvation, while others were forced to move from the cities to the countryside, where they died from overwork in labour camps.

Pol Pot died in 1998, and only two of his six to 10 former top lieutenants are currently in jail.

The Cambodian government and the UN had agreed that the setting up of the court could start once pledges sufficient to cover the body's work for the next three years had been received.

At a donor's conference last month, UN members pledged a total $38m, $21.6m of which came from Japan.

Cambodia has allocated $13m.

Cambodians have never really confronted the horrors of the Khmer Rouge, the BBC's Asia correspondent, Andrew Harding, reports.

Some observers have questioned whether an expensive tribunal is the answer or whether a broader approach, like South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, would serve Cambodians better.

See archive footage from the Khmer Rouge era

UN appeals for KR trial funding
28 Mar 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Safety plea over Cambodia trials
03 Mar 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Japan aid for Khmer Rouge trials
10 Feb 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Long wait for Killing Fields justice
05 Oct 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Khmer Rouge genocide admission
30 Dec 03 |  Asia-Pacific
UN and Cambodia sign court deal
06 Jun 03 |  Asia-Pacific
Key figures in the Khmer Rouge
17 Mar 03 |  Asia-Pacific
Pol Pot: Life of a tyrant
14 Apr 00 |  Asia-Pacific

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