Hun Sen, himself a former low-level commander for the communist movement, has publicly stated he would rather the court failed than pursue other former regime members, fearing another civil war. --PHOTO: REUTERS
The Straits Times
The Straits Times
Sep 2, 2009
PHNOM PENH - CAMBODIA'S UN-backed war crimes court announced on Wednesday that it would investigate more suspects from the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime, blamed for the deaths of up to two million people.
'The international prosecutor is authorised to make an introductory submission to co-investigating judges to open additional judicial investigations,' court spokesman Lars Olsen told AFP.
Based on the investigations, the tribunal will have to decide whether to prosecute these suspects, a move that Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has already strongly opposed for fear it could spark civil war.
The tribunal was created in 2006 to try leading members of the 1975-1979 regime, and five former leaders are currently being held on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The court's long-awaited first trial of Kaing Guek Eav, better known by the alias Duch, is now under way, and he has accepted responsibility for overseeing the execution of more than 15,000 people at the regime's main prison.
The new suspects in question are lower-level members of the communist movement, whose names have not been made public. It was not immediately known how many suspects would be investigated.
Cambodian prosecutors have opposed their international colleagues' wishes to pursue more indictments.
Hun Sen, himself a former low-level commander for the communist movement, has publicly stated he would rather the court failed than pursue other former regime members, fearing another civil war.
But critics have accused the administration of trying to protect former regime members who are now in government. -- AFP