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Last Updated: Friday, 16 March 2007, 17:37 GMT
Deal nearer on Khmer Rouge court
Judges begin the procedural discussions on 7 March 2007
The judges have been discussing procedures since 7 March
Cambodian and international judges have resolved most of their differences over procedures for a planned Khmer Rouge tribunal, court officials say.

But a key disagreement about the role of foreign lawyers remains unresolved.

The judges have held 10 days of talks in Phnom Penh on rules for the trials, which aim to put surviving leaders of the brutal Maoist regime in the dock.

An estimated two million people died under Khmer Rouge rule in Cambodia in the 1970s.

The procedural disagreements had threatened to cause the whole process to collapse.

Court officials are trying to put a positive slant on the result of the judges' meeting, says the BBC's Guy Delauney in Phnom Penh.

A final agreement has once again proved elusive but they say that most issues now only need fine-tuning, and the threatened walk-out of international officials failed to materialise.

The judges have called a full meeting of legal officials to approve the rules at the end of April.

Age concerns

But, our correspondent adds, disagreement over the role of foreign lawyers could still derail the process.

Tourists standing behind a display of Khmer Rouge victim pictures in Phnom Penh (archive picture)
Khmer Rouge victims have already had to wait 30 years for justice

The United Nations-nominated judges have insisted that defendants and victims have the right to select legal counsel of their choice, but the Cambodian Bar Association is demanding that foreign lawyers pay a registration fee.

The international judges say the amount in question is unacceptably high and they will not approve the rules unless it is lowered.

They have urged the Bar Association to reconsider its position, a statement from tribunal office said.

Trial hearings are theoretically due to start later this year. Officials admit time is of the essence because of the age of the possible defendants.

The death of military commander Ta Mok last year heightened fears that more key defendants and witnesses could die before facing justice.

Pol Pot, the founder and leader of the Khmer Rouge, died in 1998.


SEE ALSO
Talks to save Khmer Rouge trials
07 Mar 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Rocky road to Khmer Rouge trial
26 Feb 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Khmer Rouge trials 'obstructed'
06 Dec 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Officials mull Khmer Rouge trials
20 Nov 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Khmer Rouge court gets go-ahead
30 Apr 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Long wait for Killing Fields justice
05 Oct 04 |  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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