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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Selection of judges marred by graft charges

Selection of judges marred by graft charges



Vol. 14, No. 9

May 6th - 19th 2005

OFFICIAL secrecy and allegations of corruption surrounding the selection of KR tribunal judges continues to cast doubt on the court's ability to field a competent and transparent judiciary.

The Supreme Council of Magistracy (SCM) will begin selecting Cambodian judges for the tribunal within months, yet the criteria that will be used to appoint them has not been made public nor have the names of potential candidates been released.

The secrecy has sparked concern from trial watchers and many human rights groups.

"Choosing the judges is most important for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal," said Ouk Vandeth, director of Legal Aid of Cambodia and member of the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC). "... Cambodian people want to be confident in the court, so if the names of the judges are secret, what is transparent?"

Much interest has focused on the names of 30 judges who attended one or both two-week training courses held in September 2004 and April-May this year.

A joint effort between the UN Development Program, the KRT taskforce and the Royal School for Judges and Prosecutors, the courses covered criminal law, humanitarian law and Cambodian rules of procedure and evidence.

Though the classes are not officially part of the trial's mandate, observers expect that Cambodian tribunal judges will be selected from those attending the courses.

Recent media reports have claimed that three of the judges thought to be attending training have never completed university. Another judge allegedly dropped out of the course after being accused of accepting bribes to illegally release thieves.



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