The king of Cambodia has approved the Cambodian and UN judicial officials selected to oversee a trial of surviving Khmer Rouge leaders, paving the way for a long-awaited genocide tribunal, a court official said Monday.
King Norodom Sihamoni signed royal decrees Sunday that marked the final step in the selection process of 13 UN and 17 Cambodian judges, prosecutors and other judicial officials, said a tribunal spokesman, Reach Sambath.
The nominees were initially approved by the highest Cambodian judicial body, the Supreme Council of Magistracy, during a meeting last Thursday.
Appointment letters will be sent to each of the nominees so that they can start preparing themselves to take up their assignments, the spokesman said.
The tribunal's international officials will come from Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Japan, Poland, Sri Lanka, the Netherlands and the United States, according to a list released by the court.
Preliminary legal procedures are expected to start in June ahead of the actual trials, which are scheduled to begin in early 2007.
Cambodia and the United Nations agreed in 2003 to jointly convene trials of former Khmer Rouge leaders accused of responsibility in the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people from starvation, disease, overwork and execution during the group's rule from 1975 to 1979.
The Khmer Rouge leader, Pol Pot, died in 1998. The ultra-communist movement collapsed a year later, but none of its top leaders has been brought to justice. Many still live and move freely in Cambodia.