We categorically reject the suggestion broadcast on the
ABC's Foreign Correspondent program on 21 July 1998 that the
Australian Government is not doing enough to ensure that
Nuon Paet, the Khmer Rouge commander believed to be
responsible for David Wilson's death, is brought to
The Australian Government is deeply concerned by recent
reports that Nuon Paet might be enjoying some form of
protection in Cambodia, official or otherwise, as it has
been previously when any such suggestions have arisen.
As it has done on every such occasion, the Australian
Government has again raised its serious concerns about this
report with the Cambodian authorities in the context of
commitments already secured from Cambodian leaders that Nuon
Paet will be arrested.
We are maintaining consistent pressure on the Cambodian
Government, to make clear to all relevant Cambodian
Government agencies their obligation with respect to the
arrest of Nuon Paet.
We are also reminding the Cambodian authorities of the
unambiguous commitments given by Cambodia's leaders that
Nuon Paet will be brought to trial.
A consistent Government approach has been sustained this
year, as it has since David Wilson's death.
Some examples of the Government's actions in response to
reports of Nuon Paet's whereabouts, which first appeared
late last year and have continued to circulate this year,
- in November last year, the Australian Government
asked people claiming to have knowledge of Nuon Paet's
whereabouts to pass on that information so that
appropriate action could be taken
- in March this year, the Australian Government
requested the Cambodian authorities to investigate
reports of Nuon Paet's presence in Pailin and to remind
members of the armed forces that a warrant for Nuon
Paet's was in force and that they should do all in their
power to apprehend him
- in April, the Ambassador reiterated in the strongest
terms to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of
Interior, Sar Kheng, the Australian Government's
expectation that the Cambodian Government would do all in
its power to arrest Nuon Paet and bring him to trial
- in May, Ambassador Leader, together with his French
and British colleagues, wrote to the Cambodian Government
expressing the deep concern of our Governments at reports
that Nuon Paet might be living in Pailin
- also in May, the Ambassadors called on Second Prime
Minister Hun Sen to remind him of the Australian
Government's firm expectation that the warrant for Paet's
arrest be executed as soon as possible. Ambassador Leader
again reiterated the Australian Government's unequivocal
position that Nuon Paet should be brought to justice
without further delay for the murder of David Wilson,
Jean-Michel Braquet and Mark Slater.
- these representations were followed up in June, in a
meeting with a senior adviser to Hun Sen.
Ambassador Leader is following up reports of Nuon Paet's
movements with the Director of the Judicial Police, with the
Minister for Defence, and with a senior adviser to Hun Sen,
to ensure that all arms of the Cambodian Government fully
understand their responsibilities in securing the immediate
arrest of Nuon Paet.
In response to the Australian Government's actions, Prime
Ministers Ung Huot and Hun Sen have reaffirmed the Cambodian
Government's intention to bring Nuon Paet to trial. Second
Prime Minister Hun Sen, in particular, has spoken of his
appreciation of the seriousness of this matter and of the
concerns felt by the families and Governments involved. He
has given a personal assurance that Nuon Paet would be
pursued by the Cambodian Government. We intend to exert the
maximum pressure on Mr Hun Sen and his Government to ensure
that this undertaking is honoured.
Clearly the Government's action on this matter has been
sustained and extensive and it was highly disappointing that
this activity was mentioned in the Foreign Correspondent
report in the most dismissive of terms.