Cambodian Information Minister and government spokesman Khieu Kanharith has said that the government could "terminate" the Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia (ECCC) if its international judges charge retired King Norodom Sihanouk for any Democratic Kampuchea (DK) era entanglements, the Cambodia Daily newspaper reported Monday.
The ECCC operates under Cambodian law, which guarantees Norodom Sihanouk immunity, Khieu Kanharith said Sunday, adding that any attempt to violate that immunity would be "illegal" and thus justify disbandment.
"The government is able to terminate the ECCC," he was quoted as saying.
The tribunal has made no public move to investigate Norodom Sihanouk or to call him as a witness, the newspaper said.
Questions about Norodom Sihanouk's possible role in the ECCC were brought up on Aug. 20 by a statement from the little-known NGO Cambodian Action Committee for Justice and Equality, which called for stripping the retired King's immunity so he could be charged by the ECCC, it said.
The Cambodian government and Prime Minister Hun Sen last week came to Norodom Sihanouk's defense, citing his constitutional immunity.
Sihanouk, 85, stepped down as king in 2004 and his son Norodom Sihamoni succeeded him.