• Short Summary

    Prince Sihanouk, the deposed Cambodian head of State, was put on trial in his absence in Phnom Penh on Friday (July 3).

  • Description

    Prince Sihanouk, the deposed Cambodian head of State, was put on trial in his absence in Phnom Penh on Friday (July 3).

    The courtroom was packed with more than 150 cameramen, journalists and witnesses, and the atmosphere was very informal.

    But initially the defence counsel were not active in the face of charges of treason, murder, and violation of the constitution.

    On the second day (July 4) of the 'Trial-In-Absence' of Prince Norodom Sihanouk, deposed Cambodian Head of State, a former Minister of Justice told a military tribunal in Phnom Penh that the Prince had ordered the execution of several hundred people.

    The former Minister, Teip Hung, said the Prince gave orders for the immediate execution of captured Khmer Rouge (Cambodian Communist) or Khmer Serai (Members of an anti-Sihanouk Political movement).

    "Several hundred people were killed", he said. "I did not agree with Sihanouk's orders, but he was head of state, so I had no choice."
    Thirteen witnesses were heard on the second day, but there was still no formal reading of charges against the Prince, overthrown on March 18 and now exiled in Peking.

    However, the 16-page indictment supplied by Defence counsel has Sihanouk charged with treason, the murder of 1000 people, violating the constitution, and corruption.

    Defence counsel said they would plead guilty after the last 32 witnesses had given evidence on July 5.

    The trial, before a military tribunal of four high-ranking officers and a Supreme Court Judge, is being held in a small room in the department of military justice.

    Prince Sihanouk, who ruled Cambodia for 15 years, has established a Government in exile in Peking, and thrown in his support with North Vietnam and the Vietcong.

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    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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