Less than a week before Swiss co-investigating judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet is scheduled to depart the Khmer Rouge tribunal and quit the investigations into government-opposed cases 003 and 004, the UN has not yet named a replacement.
When contacted by the Post yesterday, the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General of the UN said there was no new information on the status of the UN’s appointment of the two new international judges required to replace German judge Siegfried Blunk, who quit in October, and Swiss reserve judge Kasper-Ansermet, who leaves the court this Friday.
Both judges alleged political interference in their investigations into cases 003 and 004 against five surviving senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime as the motivation behind their resignations.
On March 30, two weeks after Kasper-Ansermet announced his resignation, Martin Nesirky, spokesperson for the Secretary-General of the UN, said the UN had initiated a process for the selection of a new international co-investigating judge and a new reserve international co-investigating judge.
“The Secretary-General believes ... it is essential that the judicial process in relation to cases 003 and 004 be brought back onto a positive course,” Nesirky said at the time.
However, there has been no further information made public about when the UN will appoint two new judges.
When Kasper-Ansermet departs, it will effectively stall investigations into both cases, for which hundreds of people have applied for civil party status.
The UN’s Special Expert at the tribunal, David Scheffer, did not respond to questions yesterday.
Clair Duffy, of tribunal monitor Open Society Justice Initiative, said she believed work was being done to appoint new judges, “but at the same time, I think everyone was hoping that the issue of a new judge would be settled in the lag time between the announcement of Kasper-Ansermet’s resignation, and its actual date of effect”.
“Cases [003 and 004] have been virtually stalled for years now,” she said yesterday.
To contact the reporter on this story: Bridget Di Certo at [email protected]hnompenhpost.com