Cambodians Outraged Over Forgiveness Ploy

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PHNOM PENH, Cambodia: It's not surprising that Cambodians have a better memory than Hun Sen thought. Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk -- who himself lost six children to the Khmer Rouge's atrocities -- said Wednesday that "taking account of the great and undeniable displeasure of the majority of the Khmer people... I won't renew my granting of amnesty to great Khmer Rouge criminals." Under Cambodian law, all amnesties must be granted by the king; that means Hun Sen's newest guests could still face a murder trial in a Cambodian court.

Not that the prime minister or his two old compadres are losing any sleep yet. In case there's a trial, Hun Sen controls the judicial branch; if there's popular disapproval, he controls the army. And the king is 76 and currently ailing in Beijing. Which leaves justice to the rest of the world; a special U.N. team is already on the case and is due to report in January. Hun Sen hasn't said whether he'll cooperate -- but remember, there's one more Pol Pot lieutenant, Ta Mok, known as "the Butcher," still at large. Perhaps Hun Sen could try him -- in absentia, of course -- as a sop to his horrified people.