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Tribunal Summons Six Government Officials

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday questioned the tribunal summonses for six government officials as witnesses, claiming they should instead be treated as plaintiffs.

“Why do they call the plaintiffs to be witnesses?” Hun Sen said at a ceremony in Phnom Penh celebrating the 30th anniversary of the National Bank. “Because those people are known to have toppled Pol Pot, and they are also the ones who approved the laws to try the Khmer Rouge.”

The court’s French investigating judge, Marcel Lemonde, sent summonses to Senate President Chea Sim, National Assembly President Heng Samrin, Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, Finance Minister Keat Chhon and senators Sim Ka and Ouk Bunchhoeun.

They are being asked to testify in the upcoming case against four jailed leaders of the regime, the second trial of the UN-backed court.

Both investigating judges declined further comment Thursday.

Government adviser Tit Sothea called the summonses “wrong,” saying to call senior leaders of the ruling party to court could weaken social safety and political stability.

“This summon is against people’s will, because we don’t want to do that,” he said.

Long Panhavuth, project officer for the Open Society Justice Initiative, which monitors the tribunal, said Lemonde’s summonses were a positive step for the court.

“This is a good means, by which [Lemonde] informed the public about who knows about the Khmer Rouge,” he said. In his role as investigating judge, “he should summon all people who know about the killing fields of Democratic Kampuchea.”