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Perfection Is The Enemy of Justice



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Bangkok Post 2003 Perfection Is The Enemy of Justice A Response to Amnesty International s Critique of the Draft Agreement Between the U N and Cambodia By Dr Gregory H Stanton At least 1 7 million Cambodians died during Khmer Rouge rule in Cambodia from 1975 through 1978 On 13 May 2003 the United Nations General Assembly approved an Agreement between the U N and the Royal Government of Cambodia to establish a tribunal to try the surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge The Assembly appealed to the international community to provide assistance including financial and personnel support to the tribunal The Khmer Rouge were driven out of power in 1979 but for years after that the U S and other nations voted to seat them in the United Nations and opposed all efforts to bring them to justice Since 1981 the Cambodian Genocide Project Yale University s Cambodian Genocide Program and the Documentation Center of Cambodia have gathered evidence from eyewitnesses collected hundreds of thousands of pages of documents and mapped thousands of mass graves In 1991 a Cambodian peace agreement was signed and in 1994 the Cambodian Genocide Justice Act sponsored by Senator Charles Robb made it U S policy to press for an international tribunal to try the Khmer Rouge In 1997 the Cambodian government requested help from the U N to set up a tribunal The UN appointed a Group of Experts to study the legal case and in 1999 these jurists recommended establishing a tribunal Years of negotiations followed The U N tried to impose a U N run tribunal Cambodia insisted that the tribunal be majority Cambodian under Cambodian law Agreement was reached in 2001 on a mixed tribunal with a Cambodian majority but requiring super majority agreement by international judges for all decisions Administration will be shared by Cambodian and U N officials prosecutors and investigating judges The maximum penalty will be life in prison The Cambodian National Assembly passed a law to establish the tribunal on these terms



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