Judge Silvia Cartwright of the Khmer Rouge tribunal may be joining a UN investigation into alleged abuses of human rights in the Sri Lankan civil war, according to New Zealand and Sri Lankan news reports that were flatly denied by the tribunal yesterday.
On Friday, New Zealand national broadcaster TVNZ reported that, starting in July, Cartwright would be part of a panel tasked with carrying out a 10-month investigation into violations committed by both sides in the years-long conflict. The Sri Lankan government reportedly opposes the investigation.
If true, the reports would raise questions as to whether Cartwright could participate in the tribunal’s upcoming Case 002/02, which is slated to begin on July 30. However, the court’s legal communications officer, Lars Olsen, said yesterday that Cartwright had been appointed to no such panel.
“Judge Cartwright has currently not been appointed to this committee in Sri Lanka. Her only focus is currently the delivery of the [August] verdict in Case 002/01,” he said.
However, Panhavuth Long, a program officer with the Cambodian Justice Initiative, said yesterday that he had heard similar information about Cartwright’s departure from sources inside the court.
“It’s not clear whether she would step down from the trial chamber, or she would do the two jobs simultaneously,” he said.