Monday, February 18, 2008

UNTAC unveiled

The UNTAC years' panel: LtoR: Dina Nay, Tom Fawthrop, Andrew Thompson
The latest in a series of forums reviewing the Legacy of the Khmer Rouge took place at the Pannasastra University tonight in Phnom Penh and focused on the UNTAC period, from the signing of the Paris Peace Accords to the election in 1993. Author and journalist Tom Fawthrop again took the moderator's chair and enlightened the audience with his in-depth knowledge of the period. He was supported by panelists Dina Nay, who spent the UNTAC period as an assistant to the force's military commander General John Sanderson, while doctor Andrew Thompson worked for the UN's human rights component. Both speakers provided the audience with their own perspectives on the period and encouraged questions from the floor. One of the points that became clear in the discussion, was the UN's refusal to acknowledge the crimes committed by the Khmer Rouge, and instead to focus on reconciliation and the elections, even though the KR eventually refused to take part. Miraculously, election day went off without a hitch - that can't be said for the UNTAC operation itself or the messy political aftermath. Next Monday's (25th Feb) panel will be on Cambodia after UNTAC (in the 1990s) and will include author and former UN staffer Benny Widyono. This series of panel discussions is hosted by Meta House and Konrad-Adenauer Foundation.

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