Almost a decade after the 1991 Paris Peace Agreements, Cambodia is at peace and the government is at last secure enough to contemplate the trials of some Khmer Rouge leaders.
Several thousand people have died and hundreds of thousands have become refugees in the last eighteen months as the result of inter-communal fighting in Indonesia’s Maluku islands. The conflict continues at a high level of intensity despite the declaration of a state of emergency in June 2000.
Indonesia has undergone an extraordinary transition during the last two years from a society long ruled by a military-backed authoritarian leader to one in which an elected government was installed through an open and largely democratic process.
The past two years has been a highly turbulent period for Indonesia.
The international community collectively heaved a sigh of relief when Cambodia’s rival factions moved back from the brink of disaster and agreed to form a fresh coalition government in November 1998 after weeks of violent protests and political deadlock.
Cambodia’s electoral process re-lit the candle of democracy that had first flickered into flame with the restoration of peace in 1991, after more than two decades of strife.
Cambodia is set to take to the polls in barely six weeks time, with some fearing the elections will cement in place a de facto dictatorship and others seeing them as the last chance to ensure that the country’s fledgling democratic process remains on track.