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Cambodia And U.N. Will Open Office in January

U.N. coordinator Michelle Lee says today (Friday) that the U.N. will open the office of administration fully operational in Phnom Penh in January 2006, after overseeing the structure of important offices for the Khmer Rouge tribunal. Ms. Lee says at the joint press conference with Mr. Sean Visoth that she will come back in January to open the office of administration, and her small expert groups to clear the way for this tribunal.

Mr. Sean Visoth is Cambodia's top tribunal administrator. Ms. Lee says "it is very normal when we start up an operation, we start up with very small teams for very good reasons, for budgetary reasons, for we cannot afford to have a full staff. I would love to have full staff with me from day one. But it is not possible. On the other hand, we don't need a full staff to be able to start the operations. So the office of administration which is very small along with all the respective services, the security, the IT, the procurement, and facility management".

Mr. Sean says that now our first step is to set up the office for Miss Lee in January 2006. We would wait and continue to wait for the contribution, and now we profess to move on.

The U.N. starts the interviews with the judges, and prosecutors Friday and will send the shortlist to the Cambodia Supreme Magistrate Council to choose from. Mr. Sean says that the Cambodia list and the U.N. list will be announced at the same time.

Ms. Lee says that the Cambodian government is responsible for the safety and the protection of the international judges, prosecutors, the witnesses, the work force personnels for the Khmer Rouge tribunal.

NGOs and opposition Sam Rainsy party officials welcome the plan to open this office of administration saying it is for the justice of nearly two million people who were murdered by the Khmer Rouge from 1975-1979.