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Tribunal Officials Mum on Former King's Challenge for Meeting

Officials of the Khmer Rouge tribunal were silent for a second day on a potential meeting with former king Norodom Sihanouk, but outside experts were divided on whether, legally or otherwise, they should go.

The former king issued a public invitation to meet with tribunal staff on Sept. 8, saying he would not meet or correspond with them again if they failed to show.

The king has constitutional immunity in Cambodian courts, including the tribunal, so an offer to meet tribunal officials falls into a grey area, experts said.

There is no legal framework for such a meeting, and the courts should not be put under additional diplomatic burdens, observers said.

Tribunal prosecutors would have to give permission to any other officials to visit the king, opposition lawmaker Son Chhay said, adding that the tribunal courts "cannot be under threats or coercion."

And while it's likely that tribunal judges would want the king to testify, his constitutional immunity prohibits it, said Hisham Mousar, a legal expert for the rights group.

Sok Samoeun, an attorney for the Cambodian Defenders Project, said a meeting between tribunal officials and the former king would "serve no purpose."