Cambodia | Cambodia Joins the World Trade Organization
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- Emergence of the Khmer Rouge
- Cambodia Joins the World Trade Organization
- Khmer Rouge Officials Face Trial
- Opposition Fares Well in Election
Cambodia Joins the World Trade Organization
Elections in July 2003 resulted in a stalemate—none of the parties won the two-thirds majority required to govern alone. Almost a year later, in June 2004, Ranariddh and Hun Sen agreed in June 2004 to form a coalition, with Hun Sen remaining as prime minister. In August, Cambodia's parliament ratified the country's entry into the World Trade Organization.
In March 2003, the UN and Cambodia announced that after five years they had finally agreed on a special tribunal to try senior Khmer Rouge officials on charges of genocide. Among those who were expected to stand trial were Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, who ran the notorious Tuol Sleng prison, and Ta Mok, alias the Butcher, who died in 2006 before his trial took place. In April 2005, the UN agreed to a funding arrangement for the tribunal.
King Norodom Sihanouk announced in Oct. 2004 that he had abdicated and selected his son, Prince Norodom Sihamoni, to succeed him. Prince Sihamoni, a ballet dancer and choreographer, lived in France and had kept a distance from Cambodian politics. Unlike his father, Sihamoni refrained from intervening in the country's politics, opting to reign as a spiritual and ceremonial figurehead.
In Feb. 2005, opposition leader Sam Rainsy was stripped of parliamentary immunity. He fled to France and was convicted in December in absentia of defaming Prime Minister Hun Sen. He received a royal pardon in 2006. Hun Sen has used defamation laws to crack down on political opponents and human rights groups, having at least seven activists and critics arrested in 2005 and 2006. Facing criticism from home and abroad, Hun Sen withdrew charges against four of the activists.