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Heng Samrin Did Not Want to Put Ex King on Trial With Former Khmer Rouge Leaders

A high-ranking official in the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) said Friday there is no need to put former King Norodom Sihanouk on trial with former leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime, if a U.N.-assisted Cambodian tribunal is ever formed.

Speaking to reporters at the National Assembly Friday, CPP honorary President and First Vice President of the National Assembly Heng Samrin said he does not wish to see Sihanouk on trial because the former king was not involved with the death of nearly two million Cambodians during the 1970s Khmer Rouge regime.

The National Assembly Vice President added that the former Khmer Rouge leaders such as former KR military commander Ta Mok and former Tuol Sleng prison chief Duch are the one who should be tried because there is plenty of evidence linking them to the atrocities.

Opposition lawmaker Keo Remy of the Sam Rainsy Party said it's a good idea if the former king volunteers to tell the court about the miseries of the Khmer Rouge regime and to clear the former king's name and his past.

Youk Chhang of the Cambodian Documentation Center said there's no evidence linking Sihanouk to the atrocities committed during the Khmer Rouge regime. However he said there are documents showing that the former king was a victim under the regime.

Last week, former King Sihanouk denied he had any involvement in the crime against humanity.

In an open letter to the Cambodian people, King Sihanouk urged the yet-to-be-formed Khmer Rouge tribunal to expand to include some former Khmer Republicans and some Kampuchea Krom groups because the king said they were the one who had helped the Khmer Rouge rise to power and eventually killed millions of Cambodian people.