CAMBODIA'S king signs law paving way for Khmer Rouge trial

Friday, August 10th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) _ Cambodia's king signed a law Friday creating the legal framework to try former Khmer Rouge leaders for crimes against humanity, a government official said.

The Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia from 1975 through 1979 and are blamed for the deaths of 1.7 million Cambodians due to disease, overwork, starvation and execution. The regime's leader, Pol Pot, died in 1998, but most of his deputies live free in Cambodia. No one has appeared in court to account for the atrocities.

King Norodom Sihanouk's signature had been expected, and paves the way for talks to begin between the government and the United Nations on finalizing details of the mixed court, which would include foreign judges and prosecutors.

The government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the king signed the legislation Friday afternoon at the Royal Palace in the capital. It had been delivered to him Friday morning, Cabinet Minister Sok An said earlier.

Parliament and the country's Constitutional Council had also recently approved the tribunal legislation.