UN Rights Monitor Seeks Faster Progress in Cambodia

Posted November 24th, 2011 at 5:15 am (UTC-5)
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A United Nations expert says Cambodia is making progress in respecting the human rights of its citizens but much more work remains to be done.

U.N. Special Rapporteur Surya Subedi also called in an interview for the Cambodian government to avoid interference in the work of an international tribunal that is prosecuting former leaders of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime.

Subedi told VOA's Khmer service that the quality of life has improved for many of Cambodia's people, but that the situation in the country should have been much better by now than it is.

The rights expert was interviewed in Berkeley, California, on the sidelines of a conference on the Paris peace accords that ended decades of civil war in Cambodia 20 years ago.

Subedi, who is charged by the U.N. with monitoring human rights in Cambodia, said more must be done to make the country's legislative and judicial branches independent of the executive.

Subedi welcomed the ongoing trial of three top Khmer Rouge leaders and said it sends a message to others that everyone who has committed atrocities should eventually be held accountable. But he urged the Cambodian government not to interfere with the tribunal's future work.

An investigating judge and several staff members have resigned from the tribunal amid charges that the government is bringing pressure for the court to abandon plans for any further prosecutions.