NZ gives further funding for Khmer Rouge trials

Thursday 12 July 2012, 11:37AM

By Murray McCully


Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully today announced an additional $100,000 for Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge Tribunal, taking New Zealand’s total contribution to $1 million.

The announcement was made in Phnom Penh during a meeting between Mr McCully and his Cambodian counterpart, Foreign Minister Hor Namhong.

Mr McCully says New Zealand is a strong supporter of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal – which has a mandate to try senior leaders and those most responsible for genocide and crimes against humanity during the Khmer Rouge rule.

“These trials are important for the long-term reconciliation needs of the Cambodian people. New Zealand is proud to be among those countries helping to ensure the tribunal can complete its important work,” Mr McCully says.

New Zealander Dame Silvia Cartwright is one of two international judges appointed to the tribunal’s trial chamber. Former New Zealand rower Rob Hamill, whose brother Kerry was killed by the Khmer Rouge in 1978, has testified before the tribunal.

The tribunal began operating in 2006 following an agreement between the Cambodian government and United Nations. It concluded its first case in February this year against Kaing Guek Eav (known as Duch), the former head of the notorious Khmer Rouge prison. Duch was sentenced to life imprisonment for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The tribunal’s second case, described as the most important war crimes trial since Nuremberg, is well underway. The Khmer Rouge controlled Cambodia from 1975-1979. An estimated 1.6 million people, or a fifth of Cambodia’s population, are believed to have died as a result of the regime’s policies.