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Khmer Rouge Tribunal Jurists Attend Seminar

Cambodian and international jurists Tuesday meet to discuss Khmer Rouge tribunal proceedings for the first time for the trial of former Khmer Rouge leaders responsible for genocide and crime against humanity in the 1970s.

The discussion is held at a four-day seminar attended by well known war crime and genocide experienced lawyers and experts from many countries, after a swear-in ceremony on Monday.

The Khmer Rouge tribunal is expected to begin in 2007 even though a set date has not been announced.

The prosecutors will begin their works July 10, according to the tribunal officials.

Khmer Rouge tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath told VOA that the seminar focuses on the proceedings, morals standard, and internal regulations for the Khmer Rouge tribunal to be fair and credible.

Opposition party and NGOs officials call this tribunal proceedings a positive step toward the trial of the former Khmer Rouge leaders responsible for genocide and crimes against humanity, but express their concerns about the delay of this tribunal.

Opposition Sam Rainsy party legislator Son Chhay says that the Khmer Rouge tribunal, the morals standard and the internal regulations must be carried out as soon as possible in one month.

Human Rights NGO Licadho director Ms. Pung Chhiv Kek says that the prosecutors have to discuss many other issues such as witnesses, and victims protection measures, and information freedom.

Khmer Rouge tribunal director of the office of administrator Sean Visoth says that the discussions and exchange of experiences between the judges and Cambodian and international prosecutors give the Khmer Rouge tribunal an international standard.

Seventeen Cambodian judges and prosecutors and 13 international jurists were appointed in May for the Khmer Rouge tribunal to give justice to about one million 700,000 people who perished during the Pol Pot regime and their families from 1975 to 1979. Pol Pot died in 1998.

Other former Khmer Rouge leaders like Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, and Ieng Sary live freely in Northwestern part of Cambodia