Media Plays Key Role in Ensuring Faire Trial of Khmer Rouge Tribunal

Posted by khmernews on January 4, 2007

Phnom Penh: A roundtable discussion co-organized by the Club of Cambodian Journalists and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation on 19th of December 2006, found out that the media would play a vital role in conveying important information concerning the Khmer Rouge tribunal to the public.

Mr. Pen Samithi, editor in chief of Rasmei Kampuchea and president of the Club of Cambodian Journalists, said that the process of finding justice for Cambodian people who died in the Khmer Rouge genocidal regime has been progressing after it had passed through years-long advocacy.

Mr. Wolfgang Meyer, a representative of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Cambodian, said, “Through my observation on the legal procedures of the Khmer Rouge trial in Cambodia, I remembered that my country Germany during the post-World War II faced the same complicated issues like Cambodia. However, we worked together to overcome them.”

He asserted that due to the fact that the tribunal will be conducted publicly, journalists will play an important role in bringing information regarding Khmer Rouge tribunal to the public. Moreover, the roles of journalists will be shown within their reports about public justice of the Khmer Rouge tribunal.

Mr. Kranh Tony, Under Secretary of State of the Office of the Council of Ministers and Legal Advisor to the Task Force of the Khmer Rouge tribunal, claimed, “We had negotiated with the United Nations [UN] about the Khmer Rouge tribunal since 1997. In 2003 we passed a law for the Khmer Rouge trial and in 2004 an agreement was reached between Cambodian government and the UN.

Mr. Kranh Tony highlighted that since February 2006, the Khmer Rouge tribunal has done lots of work although it is not visually seen like the construction of a building. Moreover, a number of the tribunal’s work is confidential.

He also raised questions and ideas which could be a basic for the journalists to discuss. “How do we balance three principles, which are peace, national reconciliation, and finding justice, in a country that has just completely emerged from wars?” he asked.

He continued to say, “There have been some Cambodian lawyers who said that to have the national reconciliation and peace we should make some concessions of pardon and mercy. However, some said that this kind of peace is not sustainable if justice is not found for the victims, and that the justice will bring negative impact on the national reconciliation.”

Mr. Kranh Tony, asserted that Mr. Sok An, the Deputy Minister and Minister of the Council of Ministers, putted these three principles in the negotiation with the UN.

He further said that the media should respect a number of legal principles, such as legal principles of the criminal law that states that a suspect is considered innocent as long as the judges has not yet issued a decision of his guilty.

He stressed that journalists should respect suspects’ rights. The journalists should publish true information and respect other people’s rights.

Mr. Pen Samithi made it known that after this roundtable discussion, 20 journalists from different newspapers and TV and radio stations will attend a week-long training course on reporting information about the Khmer Rouge tribunal which will be organized by the Club of Cambodian Journalists. The training will start on 20th of December 2006.

Extracted from: Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.14, #4163, Wednesday 20 December 2006


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