U.S. official: Press on with Khmer Rouge genocide tribunal

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PHNOM PENH -- A senior U.S. official urged Cambodian and foreign lawyers on Saturday to put aside their squabble over legal fees and move forward with the much-delayed Khmer Rouge genocide tribunal.

"The Khmer Rouge tribunal is really the opportunity for Cambodia to show the international community how far it's advanced," said Eric G. John, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific affairs.

"And it would be a shame not to be able to show how far it's advanced by letting this (tribunal) get hung up on what is a relatively down-in-the-weeds monetary issue," he said at a press conference ending a four-day visit to Cambodia.

On Friday, Cambodian judges for the U.N.-backed genocidal tribunal blamed their international peers for delaying the long-awaited trials.

Foreign judges decided earlier this week to boycott an April 30 meeting meant to adopt rules that will guide the trials. Their decision was prompted by the refusal of the Cambodian Bar Association to reverse a decision to impose high legal fees on foreign lawyers wishing to serve at the tribunal.

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