Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ambassador says tribunal "worth saving"

Ambassador says tribunal "worth saving"

Ambassador says tribunal "worth saving"

Last week, I had the opportunity to hear Clint Williamson, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for war crimes issues, speak to a crowd of Rutgers students and professors about international justice efforts in a number of different countries.  While it wasn't the sole focus of his presentation, Williamson did discuss the Khmer Rouge tribunal, and I was pleased with what he had to say.

For starters, he thinks corruption problems at the court are currently "under control" and pointed out that a court administrator had been removed from his post due to these concerns. (By this, I can only assume he was referring to Sean Visoth, former administration head, who went on extended sick leave and never returned.)

He went on to describe the tribunal as having "more of an impact on the population than any court that has been created." Williamson said that 15,000 Cambodians thusfar have attended proceedings and the ECCC has introduced a whole new generation of Cambodians to their history. While handing out Khmer Rouge textbooks on a recent trip, he said, "the kids couldn't take their noses out of the books."

Williamson said the court no doubt still faced challenges. The second case will most likely begin in early 2011, but government opposition to a third case has some activists and NGOs concerned about possible political interference.

Nevertheless, when Williamson briefed the U.S. Congress about the tribunal, he told lawmakers it "is definitely something worth saving and making work."

*Pictured: Clint Williamson distributing textbooks. (Photo pulled from U.S. Embassy website.)

MOST VIEWED

  • Shanxi wins bid to build sections of new Siem Reap airport

    Shanxi Mechanization Construction Group recently won the bid to build two sections of the new Siem Reap Angkor International Airport project in Cambodia for 290 million yuan ($42.16 million). The existing Angkor International Airport in Siem Reap, 5km from the famous ancient temple complex and world tourism

  • Breaking: US House passes 'Cambodia Democracy Act'

    The US House of Representatives in Washington, DC, on Monday, passed the “HR 526 Cambodia Democracy Act”, also known as the Cambodia Democracy Act of 2019. If signed off by the president, the bill will allow two major sets of action to be taken against high-ranking Cambodian

  • VIP prison scrapped amid much criticism

    The Ministry of Interior announced on Thursday that Cambodia’s first privately run prison, which was to allow prisoners with enough money to upgrade to more comfortable cells, has been scrapped. Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said studies had found that no other country in the

  • ‘Zero-dollar’ tours under fire

    Minister of Tourism Thong Khon has blamed “zero-dollar” tour operators for the decrease in foreign tourists to Angkor Archaeological Park in the first half of this year and has called for action against them. Angkor Archaeological Park received 1.24 million foreign visitors in the first half