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U.N., Cambodia Near Pact on Tribunal

April 30, 2000|Associated Press

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — The government and the United Nations took a big step Saturday toward convening a court to judge Khmer Rouge leaders for genocide.

The tentative agreement on a complete tribunal plan comes after more than a year of haggling over how to bring to justice the top Communist guerrillas under whose rule more than 1 million Cambodians died in the late 1970s.

"Finally they have agreed, both sides, to exert [their] best efforts to complete all the tasks necessary to be able to have a formal agreement by June 15," Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), who helped broker the deal, said in Phnom Penh, the capital.

The agreement for a tribunal led by U.N. and Cambodian judges requires the approval of the country's Legislature. The sensitive issue of indictments will be handled by co-prosecutors--one foreign, one Cambodian. That eases U.N. concerns that Cambodian jurists could have veto over indictments.

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