U.S. Asks China to Help Arrange Trial for Ex-Cambodian Leader
The United States wants China to help arrange a war crimes trial for Pol Pot, who led Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge guerrilla group when it killed perhaps a million people, a senior U.S. diplomat said Friday.
Undersecretary of State Thomas R. Pickering said Chinese officials “listened with interest” but did not immediately respond to the request raised in meetings since his arrival Thursday in Beijing.
He said they discussed “whether international tribunals might be appropriate for the trial of Pol Pot” and whether an appropriate tribunal existed.
“I left with the Chinese side our thoughts and concerns about the need for the development of such a tribunal and the hope that we can cooperate together in that effort,” Pickering said at a news conference.
China long had been an ally of the Khmer Rouge, whose brutal rule resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1 million Cambodians during Pol Pot’s 1975-79 regime.
President Clinton reportedly has ordered the Defense, State and Justice departments to draft plans to arrest Pol Pot, whose bloody campaign to remake Cambodia into a Marxist utopia ended only when neighboring Vietnam invaded. China supplied arms to the Khmer Rouge.