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ECCC official to collect evidence

THE Khmer Rouge tribunal’s independent counsellor told reporters Wednesday that he intended to collect information on all corruption and other complaints from court staffers, but said he would not be involved in resolving those deemed to be “well-founded”.

Uth Chhorn’s appointment was announced last month, more than two years after allegations first surfaced that Cambodian staffers had been required to kick back portions of their salaries to their superiors.

The press release announcing the appointment said Uth Chhorn would be “empowered to address” corruption complaints, but Uth Chhorn said Wednesday that he would focus on gathering information.

“I am to be informed of anything that happens in the court,” he said, adding that all lines of communication would be open to court staffers.
“I have my officials to receive information from here, and I have my phone active and I read my email regularly,” he said, “or I can receive staff in person in my office.”

If complaints are determined to be “well-founded”, relevant information will be forwarded to Deputy Prime Minister Sok An and Peter Taksoe-Jensen, the UN’s assistant secretary general for legal affairs, he said.

Before the floor was open to reporters, court spokesman Reach Sambath said any questions about Uth Chhorn’s work as head of the National Audit Authority (NAA) were “not relevant for him to answer”. The NAA has been criticised for not releasing its reports, and observers have expressed concern that this lack of transparency might carry over to his new position.

Uth Chhorn said he planned to keep information about complaints confidential in order to protect complainants.

Filings on graft, detention
Also on Wednesday, the tribunal published a decision by the Trial Chamber denying a request from civil parties to facilitate the disclosure of a UN graft review.

The tribunal also announced the decision by the co-investigating judges to extend the provisional detention of Brother No 2 Nuon Chea by one year “to prevent the Charged Person from exerting pressure on witnesses or destroying evidence”.

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