Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - KR court graft review unfairly names and shames, govt says

KR court graft review unfairly names and shames, govt says

KR court graft review unfairly names and shames, govt says

2-story-2.jpg
2-story-2.jpg

UN has yet to officially inform government of nature of corruption complaints made against Cambodian officials at UN-backed tribunal

Heng Chivoan

Sok An, shown here in a file photo, has written to the UN.

THE government has criticised a UN review of kickback complaints at the Khmer Rouge tribunal, saying that Cambodian officials have yet to be officially informed of the allegations and that the naming of more than one individual suspected of graft showed a lack of due process.

A statement released Friday by the Council of Ministers also says that the review, which was submitted to the government last week, failed to detail the complaints made against staff on the Cambodian side of the UN-backed court, amid allegations that some Cambodian tribunal employees were forced to hand over significant portions of their salaries to their bosses. 

Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, who has been corresponding with the UN over the graft scandal, has "expressed his concerns regarding lack of due process, including the naming of individuals who have not been informed of the charges against them", the statement said.

The exchange is the latest in a row over who should handle corruption allegations made against the Cambodian side of the court, which is being heavily funded by foreign donors.

The government maintains that a 2003 agreement on the tribunal "places responsibility for the management of the Cambodian staff on the Cambodian government, but until now none of these complaints have been presented to any competent Cambodian authority".

Court spokeswoman Helen Jarvis, one of the tribunal's two ethics monitors, said she had not yet seen the UN review, but reiterated that "we have never received [the complaints], no one has ever received them".

She did say that a recently formed government task force was investigating a fresh corruption complaint filed by a court employee last week.

Keeping a lid on corruption

According to an August circular by Sok An, all future complaints will now go directly to the ethics monitors, and will remain confidential until received by the task force.

Observers to the tribunal say that it is still unclear whether this process will be used for previous graft allegations once they are received by the government.

"We are concerned about how the government will deal with the allegations of the past once they are received," said Long Panhavuth of the legal NGO Open Society Justice Initiative.

"One of the greatest problems is the lack of information currently coming out of the court," Long Panhavuth said.

"It would be good for the court to release more information about what is going on so that people's trust can return." 

MOST VIEWED

  • EU parliament’s 13-point vote to decide on possible sanctions

    The European Parliament is due to vote on Thursday on a 13-point resolution on Cambodia – which includes a call for the treason charges against bailed opposition leader Kem Sokha to be dropped – a threat that could see the EU enforce a range of sanctions against

  • Government hits back at threats to pull EBA, suspend UN seat

    The spokesman for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) has said the government is in no way concerned after the European Parliament gave it three months to reverse what it called the “systematic repression of the political opposition”. Ignoring the ultimatum could mean facing

  • Sar Kheng: Sokha requested security

    Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Sunday revealed the story behind the transfer of former opposition party leader Kem Sokha from Trapaing Phlong prison in Tbong Khmum province to his house in the capital. Speaking at the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) headquarters in Prey

  • Chinese influx pushing locals, Westerners out of Preah Sihanouk

    Some within the Kingdom’s tourism industry have speculated that the recent influx of Chinese visitors may hinder domestic tourism as the price of accommodations in the coastal city of Sihanoukville continues to rise. Preah Sihanouk province, which has become a hotbed for Chinese investment