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Khmer Rouge Tribunal Judges Reach Agreement on Internal Rules

Cambodian and internal judge say they have reached an agreement on the rules for the coming genocide trials of former leaders of the Khmer Rouge.

The agreement, reached Friday, means the way is now open to try the former leaders of the Khmer Rouge government, which was responsible for the deaths of nearly two million people in the late 1970s.

The rules will govern every aspect of the tribunal, officially known as the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, from defense lawyers to victims' rights.

The tribunal spokeswoman, Helen Jarvis, called the agreement a breakthrough because the judges have been working on it since last July.

The agreement also clears the way for the selection of the judges and lawyers who will take part in the trials. The first defendant is not expected to appear before a judge until early next year.

Negotiations resolved Cambodian concerns about protecting national sovereignty, and eased U.N. fears about the risk of political interference in the trial.

The only outstanding issue is a dispute over fees that foreign lawyers must pay to join the Cambodian Bar Association before they can take part in the trials.

The Bar Association is asking international lawyers to pay at least 27-hundred dollars per year to work on the tribunal.