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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ECCC judge says he would quit if job compromised

ECCC judge says he would quit if job compromised


Foreign co-investigating judge also appeals for understanding as war crimes court grapples with corruption claims.

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A tourist looks at a photograph at Tuol Sleng prison on Tuesday. 

AN INVESTIGATING judge at Cambodia's war crimes court told reporters on Wednesday that he would leave his job if he believed it was compromised by political interference or corruption.

"When I came here to work as a judge ... I said, ‘The day I will not be able to do this job anymore, I will leave'," Co-investigating Judge Marcel Lemonde said in relation to the two issues.

"That's something I would like to repeat here today," he added.

Lemonde also appealed to the media to understand the challenges both issues presented. "I would like to recite the saying, ‘criticism is easy, art is hard'," he said.

Speaking at a new weekly press conference at the UN-backed court, judges also revealed Wednesday that their investigation into four other senior leaders awaiting trial at the court was aiming to finish by year's end.  

The detainees, which include Pol Pot's 84-year-old "Brother No 2" Nuon Chea, are all charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes.

"Our goal is to complete [these investigations] by the end of the year. This goal ... is a very ambitious one given the complexity of the file," Lemonde told reporters.

"We would also emphasise that even if investigations are completed this year it doesn't mean that the other parties have agreed with our conclusions," he added.

Judges also indicated Wednesday that as of the end of May, more than 450 people will have been interviewed in the case as witnesses, around 10 of whom are foreigners.

"Our investigators are now in France interviewing some people there," Lemonde added.  

Duch tells of party secrecy

As the trial of Kaing Guek Eav continued on Wednesday, the former S-21 chief told the court how the names of the regime's senior leaders were kept off documents to uphold party secrecy.

"It was to show my respect not to reveal my superior's name. I myself dared not to reveal the name of Son Sen, I dared not reveal the name of Nuon Chea, and Son Sen himself dared not to reveal the name of Pol Pot,"

"That was the method we used in the party at that time," he added.

Genocide expert Craig Etcheson also continued his testimony Wednesday, telling judges that Tuol Sleng prison was the heart of the regime's vast prison system. "S-21 was unique. It was... considered an organ of the government or the communist committee." 



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