Accusation of interference not valid

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 March, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 05 March, 1999, 12:00am

We support the call made by Saro Sivatha, leader of the Cambodian Students Movement for Democracy (report, South China Morning Post, February 20), for the Khmer Rouge leaders to face trial in an international court.

Under their constitution, the people of Cambodia are entitled to demonstrate.

This is a right which the government should respect. It was wrong not to allow a demonstration calling for the trial to take place. It sets a dangerous precedent for future administrations.

Hun Sen's Government enacted laws requiring prior approval for holding demonstrations; these laws should be rescinded.

Even though those accused of crimes against humanity may now be advanced in age and suffer from poor health, it does not change the nature of these crimes, which resulted in the deaths of two million Cambodians.

Any accusation of interference in the internal affairs of Cambodia, made against any organisation such as ourselves, the Humanist Association of Hong Kong and Humanist International, is not valid.

We live in an new era of globalisation, which has led to the development of common standards affecting all areas of human activity. We expect, as a signal of real human progress and a more advanced level of civilisation, that people responsible for genocide, torture, illicit and forceful occupation of power, and other serious crimes, will not find shelter or impunity anywhere in the world.

We believe that an open trial of those who were responsible for what happened in Cambodia will be a showcase and an example of the type of justice we all envisage for the beginning of the new millennium.

TONY HENDERSON Chairman Humanist Association of Hong Kong Asian Zone representative Humanist International