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Officials Seek to Reassure Pailin Rebels

Top officials of the Khmer Rouge tribunal arrived in the former stronghold of Pailin Monday to allay fears among low-level cadre they could share the fate of their arrested former leaders.

Five former top leaders are in tribunal custody, including Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, who both lived in Pailin until their arrest. The laws governing the tribunal do not include the prosecution of low- or mid-level cadre.

Tribunal investigating judges for three days will meet with former Khmer Rouge to explain the role of the courts and their mandate, tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath said.

“We have come here to meet and chat with the people who are officials and local authorities in Pailin,” Reach Sambath said. “Among them are a number of people who are former separatists, and who joined the Cambodian government.”

The rebels will ask judges “some questions to quell misunderstandings and unclear ideas” about the tribunal, he said.

Hisham Moussar, a tribunal monitor for the rights group Adhoc, said the three-day forum in Pailin was “important” to show the tribunal has “two voices.”

“So at the time of prosecution, there will be uncontested justice,” he said.