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Cambodia Ratifies War Crimes Tribunal Agreement - 2004-10-04


Cambodia's Parliament has ratified a long-standing agreement with the United Nations for a tribunal to try former Khmer Rouge leaders for war crimes.

The agreement on setting up the tribunal was reached in June 2003, after nearly six years of negotiations, but ratification was delayed because Cambodia had no functioning government for 11 months, after inconclusive parliamentary elections in July of last year.

Despite Monday's parliamentary action, details of funding for the tribunal have not been settled. Prime Minister Hun Sen has said Phnom Penh can provide security, utilities and facilities, but would be unable to pay other costs, which reportedly could amount to as much as $50 million.

The prime minister says Cambodia's parliament must also approve a numbers of constitutional amendments before any trials can begin.

Under Khmer Rouge rule from 1975 to 1979, an estimated 2 million people were killed or died of starvation, disease and overwork. No surviving Khmer Rouge leaders have ever been tried for alleged atrocities. Many of them live comfortably inside Cambodia.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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