A seemingly irreconcilable division has emerged between some of the international and Cambodian judges at the Khmer Rouge tribunal that threatens the ongoing work of the court, according to a report set for release today by a prominent court monitor.
The February, 2012 tribunal report by the Open Society Justice Initiative catalogues a litany of issues boiling down to one core theme: a pressing need for the United Nations to examine whether the Royal Government of Cambodia is in fact “causing [the court] to function in a manner that does not conform with the terms” of the agreement between the UN and the Kingdom.
The report is also concerned with the failure of Cambodia’s Supreme Council of the Magistracy to endorse the UN-nominated Reserve Co-Investigating Judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet.
“The Cambodian government’s refusal to endorse Kasper-Ansermet must be addressed immediately, before it does permanent, perhaps fatal, damage to the court,” today’s report says.
The 36-page report indicates that every milestone for the tribunal in 2011 was plagued by controversy.
From the conclusion of the case against notorious prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch – the final verdict was marred by human-rights concerns – to the beginning of the case against the three surviving alleged senior leaders, the “crisis of credibility” bore into the court’s operations, according to the report.
Tribunal legal affairs spokesman Lars Olsen told the Post: “We have noted the report, but we have no comment on the content of the report.”
UN Special Expert David Scheffer did not respond to requests for comment.
Keo Remy, deputy president of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit, said yesterday criticisms of the court came only from those who “misunderstand the agreement between the UN and Cambodia”.
“It’s not just the premier. I also call Nuon Chea the head of murderers,” Keo Remy said.