Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hun Sen to Ban Ki-moon: Case 002 last trial at ECCC

Hun Sen to Ban Ki-moon: Case 002 last trial at ECCC

Hun Sen to Ban Ki-moon: Case 002 last trial at ECCC

Prime Minister Hun Sen told United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon yesterday that he would not allow prosecutions at the Khmer Rouge tribunal beyond its second case, a move critics called the most blatant example yet of political interference in the work of the court.

Foreign minister Hor Namhong told reporters following the meeting that Hun Sen considered pending investigations in Cases 003 and 004 a threat to the Kingdom’s “stability”.

“Samdech [Hun Sen] clearly affirmed that Case 003 will not be allowed,” he said. “We have to think about peace in Cambodia or the court will fail.”

“The court will try the four senior leaders successfully and then finish with Case 002.”

Hun Sen has repeatedly expressed his opposition to investigations in Cases 003 and 004, which feature five suspects whose names remain confidential.

UN court spokesman Lars Olsen said he had no information on the meeting between Ban and Hun Sen.

“The court does not seek permission
and endorsement for its work. It simply follows the legal process described in the law and the agreement relating to this court,” Olsen said.

The 2003 agreement between the government and the UN that established the tribunal empowers the court to prosecute “senior leaders” and those “most responsible” for crimes committed under Democratic Kampuchea.

By pursuing possible prosecutions in Cases 003 and 004, court officials were violating this, Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith said yesterday.

“The purpose of forming the court was to seek justice for victims and guarantee peace and stability in society,” Khieu Kanharith said. “If the court walks farther than that, it will fall.”

Ban visited the tribunal yesterday and held a question-and-answer session with court staff. There, he was asked about Hun Sen’s comments and the UN response, said Jasper Pauw, a legal consultant for former Khmer Rouge Brother No 2 Nuon Chea.

“The secretary general reiterated that the independence was very important, and that the official position of the UN was that there should be no interference,” Pauw said. “He didn’t make any promises as to how they would effectively address this issue.”

A UN briefing on the meeting between Ban and Hun Sen said Ban had emphasised that the tribunal “was established to be fully independent, and that no one should seek to influence its decisions in any way”.

Phil Robertson, deputy director of the Asia division for Human Rights Watch, said Hun Sen was using his “inappropriate control” over the judiciary to try to “browbeat the international community into accepting his version of what should be covered by the Extraordinary Chambers”.

Cambodian officials at the UN-backed court have thus far fallen in line with Hun Sen’s view that prosecutions should end following Case 002.

Last year, international prosecutor William Smith made submissions regarding Cases 003 and 004 to the court’s Co-Investigating Judges over opposition from Cambodian Co-Prosecutor Chea Leang; in June, French Co-Investigating Judge Marcel Lemonde announced that he was moving forward with the investigations despite a lack of support from You Bunleng, his Cambodian counterpart.

“It’s already decided by the government, and the government has decided who they want to prosecute,” said Long Panhavuth, a project officer with the Cambodia Justice Initiative. “I would consider it a show trial.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Angkor Beer, 30 Years of Prestige and Still Counting

    Let’s celebrate 30 years of prestige with Angkor Beer. In this 2022, Angkor Beer is 30 years old and has been staying with Cambodian hearts in all circumstances. Head of core beer portfolio, EmYuthousaid, “We have been with Cambodians for three decades now. We, ANGKOR Beer, pride

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,