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Cambodian government rejects lift of immunity from prosecution for Sihanouk
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08:51, August 25, 2007

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The Cambodian government in Phnom Penh on Friday issued a statement to reject any proposal to lift the immunity from prosecution for former king Norodom Sihanouk.

"The Royal Government of Cambodia feels it must reject absolutely any idea to lift the immunity for prosecution held by His Majesty The King Father, Preah Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, and to state clearly that this matter was clearly and definitively excluded at the time of the former king's retirement," said the statement.

"We recall that The King Father was, like his fellow citizens of Cambodia, a victim of the war in Indochina, caused by the intervention of foreign powers, and of the resultant Khmer Rouge ( namely the Democratic Kampuchea, DK) regime in which His Majesty lost 14 members of his family," it said.

"All is well known," it added, "the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia states clearly in Article 7: The King of Cambodia shall reign but shall not govern. The King shall be the Head of State for life. The King shall be inviolable."

It is the responsibility of the co-prosecutors and co- investigating judges of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia (ECCC) to decide whom to try, within the jurisdiction of the court, which limited to senior leaders of DK and those most responsible for serious crimes under Cambodian and international laws, it said.

"It is the view of the Royal Government of Cambodia that such public agitation could have the result of jeopardizing the peace and unity of the Kingdom of Cambodia and play into the hands of those who would seek to return our country to its former state of war and chaos," it added.

Sihanouk retired as king of Cambodia in 2004. His son Norodom Sihamoni succeeded him.

The ECCC was designed by the United Nations and the Cambodian government to try former Democratic Kampuchea (DK) leaders on charges of crimes against humanity between 1975 and 1979.

Source: Xinhua

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