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KR Trial Expected to Begin Next Year

Cambodia and the United Nations say that the Khmer Rouge trial can proceed as early as next year.

This assessment is done at the same time when the two sides prepare for their technical aspect in Cambodia.

Deputy administrative director of the office of Khmer Rouge trial Ms. Michelle Lee tells reporters at a press conference Thursday that they (U.N. and Cambodia) conduct activities to open this office.

She says that at this moment, we hope it will be done as soon as possible, next year, but the date of the trial depends on how quickly the prosecutors and judges are able to prepare their cases.

She says that in this procedure, we can say that we hope that we can do it next year. She adds that she cannot predict exactly when it will happen, but that it all depends on the collection of documents, and who will become prosecutors in this trial.

She goes on saying that in the legal and judicial area, the final stages appointing both the international and Cambodian judges, co-prosecutors, and co-investigating judges are well underway, and that we (Cambodia and U.N.) are expecting to announce it quite soon.

The names of the national and international judges and prosecutors will be announced in the near future. The United Nations and Cambodia agreed three years ago to establish a special joint court to try senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge.

The tribunal will have an international standard. The trial will cost 56 millions and 300,000 U.S. dollars. The U.N. and Cambodia joint statement says that Cambodia still needs some funding.

Director of the Office of Administration, and executive secretary of the government's Khmer Rouge tribunal Sean Visoth says that we are at the beginning stage, and even though he saw that Japan and other countries gave funds of up 50%, the United Nations has to spend some budget, and the Cambodian side cannot touch it.

Documentation Center of Cambodia's director Youk Chhang says he prepared documents and evidences for the former Khmer Rouge leaders tribunal, and that he is waiting for the hearing.

The Khmer Rouge leaders are responsible for the death of more than one million Cambodians.