Cambodia's former King willing to testify at Khmer Rouge trials

18/07/2006 14:32:12 AEST

Cambodia's former king Norodom Sihanouk says he is willing to testify
before the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal, despite his criticism of the court.

In a statement he says his family, his wife's family and many other people
who supported them were tortured and killed by Khmer Rouge.

King Sihanouk, who quit the throne in 2004 but still wields considerable
influence in his country, has previously said he opposes the tribunal because
it would not prosecute all of those responsible for the Khmer Rouge atrocities.

The former monarch has in the past both supported and condemned the tribunal,
saying in 2004 that he would testify at the proceedings, but a year later calling
the legal efforts a comedy and a hypocrisy.

The long-awaited tribunal to try former Khmer Rouge leaders is finally under
way, 27 years after the fall of the ultra-Maoist regime blamed for the
deaths of up to two million people.

Prosecutors began their investigations last week but the first trials
are not expected until mid-2007.

ABC Asia Pacific TV / Radio Australia

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