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October 28, 10

NEWS / Development, regional cooperation top Bans talks with leader of Viet Nam

28 October 2010 – The global anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were among the issues discussed today by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and President Nguyen Minh Triet of Viet Nam in Hanoi.

Mr. Ban thanked the Vietnamese leader for his country’s support for United Nations reform and commended the South-East Asian nation for its remarkable progress towards achieving the MDGs, the targets to slash hunger, poverty, disease and a host of other social and economic ills, all by 2015.

For his part, Viet Nam’s President expressed his deep gratitude for the longstanding support for the country’s development.

During their meeting, the two leaders also stressed their interest in making tomorrow’s UN-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Hanoi a success.

The Secretary-General arrived in Viet Nam from Cambodia, where earlier today he visited the Genocide Museum at Tuol Sleng, also known as the S-21 prison camp, where numerous Cambodians were unlawfully detained, subjected to inhumane conditions and forced labour, tortured and executed in the late 1970s.

In July, the UN-backed tribunal in Cambodia dealing with mass killings and other serious crimes committed by the Khmer Rouge three decades ago handed down its first verdict, finding the head of that camp guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Also known as Duch, Kaing Guek Eav was given a 35-year prison term.

“We know it is difficult to relive this terrible chapter in your history,” Mr. Ban said at the museum, vowing that he will never forget his visit to the former prison. “But I want you to know: Your courage sends a powerful message to the world – that there can be no impunity, that crimes against humanity shall not go unpunished.”

Under an agreement between the UN and the Cambodian Government, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) was set up as an independent court using a mixture of Cambodian staff and judges and foreign personnel. It is designated to try those deemed most responsible for crimes and serious violations of Cambodian and international law between 17 April 1975 and 6 January 1979.

As many as 2.2 million people are believed to have died during the rule of the Khmer Rouge, which was then followed by a protracted period of civil war in the impoverished country.

Speaking to reporters after visiting Tuol Seng, the Secretary-General said that any decisions on further trials by the ECCC must be made by the Court itself.

In its second case, the ECCC last month indicted the four most senior members of the Democratic Kampuchea regime who are still alive for crimes against humanity, genocide, and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, as well as for violations of the 1956 Cambodian penal code, including murder, torture and religious persecution.




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