CPP President Chea Sim praised his party for leading the struggle to liberate the country from the Khmer Rouge in 1979 and urged authorities to speed up the tribunal process Thursday.
Chea Sim spoke before a crowd of thousands of CPP loyalists during the party’s 50th anniversary celebration at the party’s headquarters in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district.
Traffic was blocked off during the early morning ceremony, causing jams.
“The Cambodian People’s Party, always in the front line to fight against the genocidal regime, will continue to firmly adhere to its standpoint to find justice for the people on the basis of safeguarding national reconciliation and sovereignty,” Chea Sim said.
Last Friday, the Council of Ministers passed a revised version of the law that would oversee the trial of Khmer Rouge leaders. The revision was made to fix a technical glitch in the wording of the law that had stalled it for four months.
The law must still be reviewed by the parliament and the Constitutional Council before it goes before King Norodom Sihanouk for his approval.
Prime Minister Hun Sen said last week that the Khmer Rouge trial law would be finished by August and a tribunal court could be established by the end of this year.
But a spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in New York said on Wednesday that before the trials could be launched, the world body would have to verify that the legislation, once approved, conformed with a memorandum of understanding that needed to be signed between the UN and the Cambodian government, according to a Reuters report.
The memorandum of understanding would also have to be signed by the government and ratified by the Cambodian parliament, the UN spokesman told Reuters.
“The United Nations stands ready to assist the government of Cambodia. However, no trials can start until the memorandum of understanding is signed and ratified,” the spokesman said.
Last month, Kofi Annan said that he had no idea whether the Khmer Rouge tribunal had made any progress or not because he had not heard from the Cambodian government in about six months.
Chea Sim made no mention of the UN, but noted that the CPP was the only political force that rose up to fight the Khmer Rouge and emphasized the Jan 7, 1979, date when Vietnamese troops ousted the Khmer Rouge from power.
“January 7th was the date when the Cambodian people was reborn for the second time,” Chea Sim said. “This is the reality that no one can deny.”
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