Bridget Di Certo and Vong Sokheng’s front-page story (“Judge rejection a breach”, January 23) is mistaken, or misleading, on several important points.
First, nothing in the 2003 agreement establishing the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia requires the Supreme Council of the Magistracy, or anyone else in Cambodia, to “rubber-stamp” anything.
That agreement did not cede Cambodian sovereignty to the United Nations, and to claim it did smacks of 19th-century colonialist attitudes.
Second, there is a difference between an accusation and a proven fact.
Some UN staff who re-signed last May alleged or claimed or charged there had been a failure by the co-investigating judges to conduct a proper investigation.
Your reporters refer to this alleged failure as simply “the failure”. They also neglect to mention the co-investigating judges’ written statement that the staff in question had secured other employment before they “resigned”.
Third, it is unwarranted and emotional editorialising to write that the judges “abruptly closed investigations”. They obviously closed them when they thought it was time to do so.
“Abruptly”, implying that there was something furtive or illegitimate about ending the investigation, really only means that your reporters were surprised. Were the judges supposed to send them advance notice?
It’s also a shame that their eagerness to indict the Supreme Council for the Magistracy for not rubber-stamping as ordered prevented your reporters thinking about the interesting remarks of Judge Kasper-Ansermet that conclude their article.
They write that he “told the Post last week he had reached several important decisions on cases 003 and 004”.
But Judge Kasper-Ansermet, even if he is eventually appointed, will have no authority to make decisions on his own.
“Co-investigating judge” is more than just a name: it means the two judges are intended to work together and try to arrive at common decisions, not that one makes decisions and the other rubber-stamps them.
Even more intriguing is how Kasper-Ansermet arrived at his “decisions” without ever having been legitimately involved in any of the ECCC’s investigations.
As we know from his Twitter page, he had arrived at some fairly firm opinions about what should be done in cases 003 and 004 long before a collection of international “human rights” organisations hounded Judge Blunk into resigning.
Does anyone imagine that charges brought by Judge Kasper-Ansermet would not be subject to a very reasonable challenge on the grounds of prejudice?
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The views expressed above are solely the author’s and do not reflect any positions taken by The Phnom Penh Post.