14 May 2003


NEW YORK, 13 May (UN Headquarters) -- The General Assembly this morning approved by consensus a 32-article draft agreement between the United Nations and the Government of Cambodia on the Khmer Rouge trials.

By adopting a draft resolution recommended in the report of the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs) regarding the "Prosecution under Cambodian Law of Crimes Committed during the Period of Democratic Kampuchea", the Assembly also decided that the expenses to be defrayed by the United Nations of the Extraordinary Chambers [to be established and operate within the national courts of Cambodia] would be borne by voluntary contributions from the international community. The Assembly appealed to the international community to provide assistance, including financial and personnel support, to the Extraordinary Chambers.

In explanation of vote, the representative of the United States said his country supported the substance of the current resolution, but dissociated itself from the consensus due to concerns about the timing. It would have been better to delay consideration of the text until after the elections for the Cambodian National Assembly in July.

The representative of Japan, one of the co-sponsors of the resolution, also in explanation of vote, said the approved agreement brought justice for one of the worst crimes of the twentieth century one step closer. It would also enhance stability in the region. He hoped the Extraordinary Chambers, assisted by the United Nations, would strengthen the Cambodian judicial system and bring an end to impunity. Reiterating his appeal to the international community to provide assistance to the Extraordinary Chambers, he also appealed to the Cambodian Government for cooperation, including prompt ratification of the draft agreement.

The report, including the text of the draft agreement, (document A/57/806), was introduced by the Rapporteur of the Third Committee, Oksana Boiko (Ukraine).

* *** *