International Co-Prosecutor Robert Petit announced today that he is stepping down from his post at the Khmer Rouge tribunal. His last day will be Sept. 1, 2009. I've posted his statement below:
It is with the deepest regret that, for personal and family reasons, I must demit my position as International Co-Prosecutor effective 1 September 2009.
It has been the greatest privilege of my career to have the opportunity to bring some justice to the victims of the crimes of the Khmer Rouge. I remain convinced that Cambodia's hopes for a better future lie, in part, on true accountability for crimes. My staff and I have tried, within our jurisdiction, to contribute to that goal to the best of our abilities. I have no doubt that Deputy Prosecutor William SMITH and my staff shall, along with our Cambodian colleagues, continue to do so after I depart. My decision has been reached after months of deliberation and consultation.
I am confident that the work of my office shall continue with the same vigor during and after this transition period. The formal process of appointing a successor is ongoing and will no doubt be completed soon.
My family and I have been welcomed in Cambodia and we have called this country home for three years. For that, we will forever be grateful to the people of Cambodia.
In accordance with the Agreement between the United Nations and the Government of Cambodia and the Internal Rules of this Court, I have advised the Secretary General of the United Nations and the ECCC Plenary, through its President, about my decision.
I think most court observers would agree that this is a sad day for the ECCC. Although Petit has never been particularly warm with press, many journalists covering the court consider him a person of integrity and purpose.
A press briefing with Petit will take place at the ECCC tomorrow. Â
* Pictured: Robert Petit and Chea Leang at a recent press conference. Â