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Tribunal Prosecutors Differ on Added Suspects

Cambodian and international prosecutors at the Khmer Rouge tribunal disagree on a plan to investigate and charge more than the currently five jailed leaders of the regime, officials said.

International prosecutor Robert Petit would like to investigate as many as six more suspects, a plan that was vetoed by his Cambodian counterpart, Chea Leang, a source close to the tribunal process said.

“This disagreement rests upon the appropriateness of opening new judicial investigations into crimes committed in various locations throughout Cambodia by certain persons considered to be senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge or persons most responsible for crimes under that regime,” the co-prosecutors said in a statement.

No new suspects or charges have been announced beyond the five already in jail, including prison chief Kaing Kek Iev, whose trial is expected to begin early in 2009.

The Pre-Trial Chamber of the courts will now have to rule over the discrepancy, tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath said.

The disagreement comes as the tribunal faces delays in getting five leaders already in jail to trial and charges of corruption and mismanagement.

UN Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Peter Taksoe-Jensen arrived in Cambodia Sunday to discuss the functioning of the courts with senior Cambodian officials.