UN team says visit to help Cambodia set up war crimes court a success

12 December 2003 –

A United Nations staff team visiting Cambodia this week to help the country set up and operate a war crimes court to try former leaders of the Khmer Rouge has reported that it has had a successful mission.

UN spokesman Fred Eckhard told today's press briefing that the team, led by Karsten Harrel, received "considerable cooperation" from the Cambodian Government and has completed its visit.

The team, which has offered to provide technical and practical assistance to the Cambodians, is expected to give a more detailed report after it returns from the capital, Phnom Penh, to UN Headquarters in New York this weekend.

According to media reports, the Khmer Rouge were responsible for more than 1.7 million deaths, or nearly one in five Cambodians, when they ruled the Southeast Asian nation between 1975 and 1979.

In May, the General Assembly authorized the UN to help Cambodia set up and run two Extraordinary Chambers in the new tribunal. One will be a trial court and the other will be a Supreme Court within the existing Cambodian justice system.

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