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NGO Urges UN And Cambodia to Take Care of Ex Khmer Rouge Aging Leaders' Health

Another local human rights organization urges the U.N. and the Cambodian government to insure for the aging former Khmer Rouge leaders' health, lest they should die before the tribunal can begin.

This appeal was made after former Khmer Rouge commander Ta Mok died last Friday at a military hospital in Phnom Penh.

This death sparks charges that a witness or an important suspect in the Khmer Rouge tribunal is lost and thus cannot give accounts of what happened during this brutal regime, and reasons for its mass murder.

In its press release, the human rights Adhoc asks the U.N. and the Cambodian government to prepare a team of doctors, and a system ready to take those former Khmer Rouge leaders abroad should they become seriously ill.

Human rights Adhoc director Thun Saray says that Ta Mok died, and if we are not careful, the remaining living leaders might die some time too. He says that doctors have not been mobilized, waiting to treat former Khmer Rouge leaders, as witnesses or suspects of the genocidal regime.

The Khmer Rouge regime from 1975-1979 is blamed for the deaths of 1,700,000 people because of killings, diseases, lack of medicines, and forced labor.

Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot died in 1998, former Khmer Rouge minister of health Chuon Choeun, and commander Ta Mok, died one after the other.

Khieu Samphan, Nuon Chea, and Ieng Sary live freely in Cambodia. The only former Khmer Rouge being detained is Duch, notorious Tuol Sleng prison's director.

Khmer Rouge Tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath says that national and internationl prosecutors have not charged any former Khmer Rouge leader yet.

He dismisses the civil societies' appeals for the Khmer Rouge leaders' health care, saying it is an illegal procedure. He says that a number of NGOs request the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia to give treatment to the former Khmer Rouge leaders, to this individual, or that individual.

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia say that this request cannot be carried out because according to the legal procedure, a person is being treated if this individual is being charged.

Up to now, the prosecutors have not charged anyone yet, and no one knows who is guilty and who is not.

Documentation Center of Cambodia's director Yuk Chhang says that we must pay attention to the leader who is being detained such as Duch so that he will live to face the trial, and bring justice to the victims and their families.

Up to now, a court with international participants, was formed more than 3 years ago, to try former Khmer Rouge leaders, but is has not tried any Khmer Rouge yet, whose regime is charged with genocide.