Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Move on from Khmer Rouge court turmoil, say NGOs

Move on from Khmer Rouge court turmoil, say NGOs

Move on from Khmer Rouge court turmoil, say NGOs

The UN and the Cambodian government need to put the turmoil at the Khmer Rouge tribunal behind them and re-commit to strong leadership and the court’s success, a coalition of 22 Cambodian NGOs said on Friday.

The NGOs slammed the “obstructionist trend” at the tribunal, initiated by Cambodian co-investigating judge You Bunleng’s refusal to acknowledge the judicial acts of his international counterpart, as interfering with the course of justice.

“The tribunal is a crucial milestone for the Cambodian people and any action that slows down the process should be regarded as a gravest obstruction of justice,” the coalition, dubbed the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, wrote, calling on the UN to speed the process of appointing new international co-investigating judges.

CHRAC highlighted the blocked appointment of Case 004 lawyer Richard Rogers, the defence counsel for suspect Ta An, as the latest low point in the obstructionist trend.

Based on You Bunleng’s position that former international reserve co-investigating judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet had no legal authority to act, a contingent of tribunal staffers view Kasper-Ansermet’s investigations into the government-opposed cases 003 and 004 as invalid.

“It seems UN officials at the ECCC have adopted this interpretation, which is contrary to the law, due to budgetary reasons,” CHRAC said. “CHRAC believes this to be a negative reflection on the will of the [UN] and international community to see cases 003 and 004 brought before the court.”

The international side of the tribunal is about US$25 million short of funds for 2012.

The Post asked tribunal legal affairs spokesman Lars Olsen yesterday whether there were funds to pay UN salaries for June.

“I have no new information about the budget. I am not going to speculate about salaries,” he said, directing further questions to UN special expert David Scheffer, who is in Phnom Penh this week to launch his memoirs on his work as a US ambassador for war crimes.

The coalition also urged the Khmer Rouge tribunal to play a broader role than “simply conducting a handful of criminal trials”.

It called for wider discussion about the Khmer Rouge period and other extra-judicial mechanisms to help survivors “come to terms with the past”.

CHRAC chairman Thun Saray said this would be the ideal legacy for the tribunal.

“[But] look at our government: we have a lot of people there who were former Khmer Rouge [and wouldn’t co-operate with extra-judicial mechanisms],” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bridget Di Certo at [email protected]


  • Professor beaten by mob in Phnom Penh after alleged hit-and-run

    Updated with new information: 6:44am, Tuesday March 13 2018 A university professor accused of a hit-and-run has been transported to Vietnam with serious head injuries after he was brutally beaten by a mob in Phnom Penh late Sunday afternoon. A video of the attack shows a group

  • American ‘fugitive’ arrested in Cambodia outside of US Embassy

    An American citizen was arrested on request by the US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Tuesday, according to Cambodian police. Major General Uk Hei Sela, chief of investigations at the Department of Immigration, identified the man as American Jan Sterling Hagen, and said he was

  • One Australian, one Cambodian killed in explosion at military base

    Updated: 5:20pm, Friday 16 March 2018 An Australian tourist and a Cambodian soldier were killed in an explosion on Thursday afternoon at an army base in Cambodia’s Kampong Speu province. The Australian, whom the government initially identified as a technical demining expert in his 40s, and

  • Australians protest Asean summit visit by PM Hun Sen

    Hundreds of protesters gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park on Friday to protest against Cambodian strongman Hun Sen, who claimed to have been gifted millions of dollars by the Australian government ahead of a special Asean summit this weekend. An estimated 300 protesters, the majority of