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NEWS UPDATES 4 December 2009

Cambodian PM denies interference in Khmer Rouge trial

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Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday denied interfering with the UN-backed Khmer Rouge court, but repeated warnings that pursuing more suspects from the 1970s regime could spark civil war, reported AFP.

“I am not interfering with the court. But it is not the court that stopped the war. Be careful - the court will create war, causing division of society again,” Hun Sen said in a speech in the capital Phnom Penh.

The premier made his remarks days after lawyers for a former Khmer Rouge leader demanded that investigators at the war crimes tribunal question Mr Hun Sen and government officials over alleged interference.

“Again and again, I see they want to question (more people). Be careful, this is the issue of death,” Hun Sen said during a ceremony to mark the international day of disabled people.

He went on to repeat warnings that he would rather see the court fail than expand prosecutions beyond the five former Khmer Rouge leaders currently detained for their roles in the regime which killed up to two million people.

Final arguments in the court's first trial, of prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, concluded last week. The court plans to prosecute former Khmer Rouge ideologue Nuon Chea, head of state Khieu Samphan, foreign minister Ieng Sary and his wife, minister of social affairs Ieng Thirith sometime in 2011.


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