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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Latest proposal criticized

Latest proposal criticized

A US-sponsored compromise on the prosecution at a future Khmer Rouge tribunal has

met with cynicism. The compromise proposes to set up a "review board" of

judges to solve possible disputes between the Cambodian/foreign coprosecution.

Human rights lawyer Brad Adams fears that the introduction of a "review board"

will politicize the KR trial.

"No credible legal system operates this way. Prosecutors must have the discretion

to indict based on the evidence, not on a vote of [the] politically motivated,"

says Adams.

Also, he doubts that the structure will take the power to prevent prosecution out

of the government's hands.

"Hun Sen will control the Cambodian votes, and I have little doubt that since

the tribunal is in Cambodia, he and resident diplomats will attempt and probably

succeed in influencing the decision of at least one of the foreign members of the

board," says Adams.

"Arguments will be made about peace and national reconciliation and it will

only take one foreign judge to buy into this to kill an indictment".

Genocide researcher Craig Etcheson points out that the "review board" introduces

yet another legal element into an already complicated structure.

"It is already completely abnormal. Coprosecutors who have to negotiate with

one another; outside panels voting on contested indictments; a bench rife with blatant

political appointments. It goes on and on and is definitely not anywhere near what

one might call 'international judicial standards'," says Etcheson.

"It could get extremely ugly and embarrassing - or at least embarrassing to

anyone who is capable of being embarrassed."

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