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Tweeting judge’s cyber diary

111019_02
Co-investigating judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet of Switzerland in this undated file photo.

Judge’s tweets
October 13
#Cambodia #KhmerRouge National Co-investigative Judge is “resolved to resist to any attempt to interfere into his works from any source”.
October 13
#KhmerRouge Ministry of foreign affairs: the Royal Government of Cambodia has the primary duty to protect peace and national reconciliation”day.

October 12
ind.pn/pGLuX3 #UN : the #Krtribunal has to proceed “without interference from any entity, including the Royal Government of Cambodia”

October 4
bit.ly/nrW3nA #KhmerRouge #HumanRights Co-investigating judges “have egregiously violated their legal and judicial duties” #UN
Oct 4

September 4
bit.ly/nCZLi7 #KhmerRouge : Officials for Japan and France say they want to see proceedings toward a trial of #Case002 advance”

June 17
http://bit.ly/muuaeq “UN had failed to address major questions requesting the credibility of the court” #KhmerRouge #HumanRights #Cambodia”

Many have asked: “WHY isn’t the Khmer Rouge tribunal going after more bad guys?”

It’s a question on the mind of new tribunal Co-Investigating Judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet – or at least was on August 21 when he retweeted an article asking exactly that.

In the wake of German judge Siegfried Blunk’s shock resignation, his successor – who has yet to assume office – is set to dive straight into the crisis of credibility now engulfing the tribunal. That crisis, and the importance of the United

Nations in negotiating a resolution, is something that Kasper-Ansermet’s twitter feed shows him to be keenly aware of.

The Swiss judge, who appears to have opened the twitter account on May 17, frequently retweets civil society statements about the tribunal, including links to Open Society Justice Initiative and Human Rights Watch reports, including a recent HRW report calling for the resignation of co-investigating judges Blunk and You Bunleng.

The twitter feed provides a rare insight into the interests of Kasper-Ansermet, who appears to be an avid monitor of anti-corruption civil society movements such as those seen in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and the recent Occupy Wall Street protests.

“What’s your answer about criticism (OSJI) for UN handling of a controversial case at the #KhmerRouge Tribunal? #asktheSG #Cambodia,” he tweeted on September 13, referring to an OSJI report criticising the lack of UN activity in response to continued allegations of political interference in the tribunal’s work.

It is not yet confirmed whether Kasper-Ansermet is in Phnom Penh, otherwise, the judge may have had the opportunity to “#asktheSG” (ask the UN Secretary-General) during a planned visit by UN Under-Secretary General for Legal Affairs Patricia O’Brien, who is scheduled to meet with court and government officials to address concerns at the tribunal.

Kasper-Ansermet has also tweeted links to court documents from Kheiu Samphan’s defence team calling for investigating judges to be removed, and on June 29, retweeted a comment from a New Zealand MP on cases 003 and 004, who said it was  “reasonable to pursue cases 003/004 against Sou Met, Meas Muth, Ta An, Ta Tith and Im Chaem”.

Blunk and his Cambodian counterpart You Bunleng in August threatened news agency VOA with a contempt of court suit for publishing confidential documents that named the suspects in cases 003 and 004 and government officials have spoken out against pursuit of any additional Khmer Rouge suspects by the tribunal and monitoring groups have accused the government of interfering in the work of the tribunal.

Several of his tweets provide links to articles on KI Media, a well-known pro-opposition website in Cambodia. While Kasper-Ansermet’s embrace of public discussion runs contrary to some of the policies of his predecessor, under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which forms part of national law in the Kingdom, judges are entitled to the same rights of freedom of expression as other citizens.

Kasper-Ansermet has had a colourful career. Before graduating from the University of Geneva with a law degree in 1978, he completed tertiary studies in visual arts and journalism.

The tribunal website states that he has “more than 18 years’experience … focusing particularly on complex financial crimes and corruption.” He was involved in the high-profile investigation of the possible misuse of a US$4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund to Russia in 2004.

At the time, UK newspaper The Times reported that “the investigation was marred by violent intimidation. Kasper-Ansermet, the investigating magistrate who launched the Swiss investigation, was left bleeding and unconscious in an attack in St Petersburg on a visit to Russia.”

While he may not face that sort of physical intimidation in Cambodia, his new role at the tribunal brings its own intense challenges. “There will be pressure on any new judge because of the credibility crisis at the court,” OSJI’s Clair Duffy told the Post yesterday.

“I think the pressures will largely depend on what happens with the UN Office of Legal Affairs and the Royal Government of Cambodia,” she said, referring to this week’s visit by O’Brien.

Yesterday, the tribunal had no further updates on when Kasper-Ansermet would assume his new role. Blunk is currently on annual leave until October 31. Kasper-Anserment said he would not be answering media queries before he had officially assumed his role at the tribunal.

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