Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Search on for new judges



Search on for new judges

Search on for new judges

Citing “serious” concerns with the work of the Khmer Rouge tribunal, the United Nations said on Friday that it is in the process of selecting two international co-investigating judges to replace the ones who have resigned from the court, and urged the Cambodian government to offer them its “full cooperation”.

“Recent events at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia … have raised serious concerns about the ECCC judicial process in relation to Cases 003 and 004,” the statement, issued by the spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, reads.

Less than two weeks ago, reserve international Co-Investigating Judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet resigned amid what he said was persistent stonewalling by the Cambodian court staff of his efforts to investigate government-opposed cases 003 and 004. 

And in October, Kasper-Ansermet’s predecessor, Siegfried Blunk, resigned citing government interference.

“The circumstances that have given rise to these two resignations remain worrying,” Ban’s statement says.

Although it does not provide a timeline for the selection of the new judges, the statement instructs the Cambodian government to “extend its full cooperation to the new judges”, adding that they should be “promptly appointed” by the Supreme Council of the Magistracy.

The statement also takes the Council to task for its failure to appoint Kasper-Ansermet.

“The Cambodian Supreme Council of the Magistracy did not appoint Judge Kasper-Ansermet as the international Co-Investigating Judge as it was required to do by the UN/Cambodia agreement,” the statement reads.

The statement also defends Kasper-Ansermet’s “full legal authority” to conduct investigations into cases 003 and 004. That authority had been consistently invalidated by the Swiss judge’s Cambodian counterpart, You Bunleng.

Reached yesterday, You Bunleng said he had no further comment about Kasper-Ansermet’s authority, and that he would “wait to work with” whomever the UN selects to replace Kasper-Ansermet.

“The decision of approval of the new judge … is not my decision, it’s the decision of the Supreme Council of the Magistracy,” he added.

Government officials refused to respond to the UN statement yesterday. Government spokesman Phay Siphan said “I have no business in this matter”, and referred all inquiries to Keo Remy, deputy president of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit, who hung up on a reporter and did not answer repeated phone calls after.

Information Minister Khieu Kanharith also hung up on a reporter and refused to answer subsequent calls.

UN Special Expert to the Khmer Rouge tribunal David Scheffer did not respond to questions prior to press time.

To contact the reporters on this story: Kristin Lynch at [email protected]
Cheang Sokha at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • Without shoes or a helmet, a young cyclist steals the show

    Pech Theara gripped the curved handlebars of his rusty old bike, planted his bare feet on its pedals and stormed as fast as he could towards the finish line. The odds were against him as the 13-year-old faced off against kids with nicer bikes at

  • Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway on schedule

    The construction of the more than $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway has not been delayed despite the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 26 per cent of the project completed and expected to finish in about two years, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there

  • Cambodia lauded for fight against Covid-19

    Cambodia has drawn global accolades for its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a new report finding that the Kingdom has controlled the pandemic better than any other country in Asia. Dr Takeshi Kasai, director of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Western Pacific region,