UN and Cambodia reach draft agreement for prosecuting Khmer Rouge crimes

In a statement to the press in Phnom Penh, the head of the UN delegation, Legal Counsel Hans Corell, spelled out the main features of the text of the draft agreement, which he said was “designed to ensure a fair and public trial by an independent and impartial court.”The Extraordinary Chambers will comprise just one trial court and one Supreme Court within the existing national court structure of Cambodia and contain a mix of international and Cambodian judges, said Mr. Corell. “Decisions in the two chambers would be taken by majority of four judges and five judges, respectively,” he added.With respect to amnesty or pardon, “the Royal Government of Cambodia would undertake not to request one for any persons who might be investigated or convicted of crimes under the agreement,” Mr. Corell said.”The question of procedure was always difficult in the negotiations in the past,” Mr. Corell said, pointing out that the text agreement contained provisions for such matters. “In particular, the Extraordinary Chambers would have to exercise jurisdiction in accordance with international standards of justice, fairness and due process of law.”In explaining the difference in the situation between now and February last year, when the Secretary-General withdrew from the process, Mr. Corell said Mr. Annan had lost confidence in the process as it stood a year ago and could no longer continue his good offices. “The General Assembly has now taken responsibility for the process, which is now based on its mandate,” he said. “It will now be for the Assembly to examine the result of our negotiations and decide whether it is acceptable.”If approved and ratified, the agreement would be an international agreement governing cooperation between the UN and Cambodia, to be implemented in accordance with all requirements under the law of treaties, Mr. Corell said. The matter will also have to go through the Cambodian parliament for approval.

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