Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Should the United Nations withdraw from the KRT?

Should the United Nations withdraw from the KRT?

Should the United Nations withdraw from the KRT?


Dear Editor,

In November, 2008, a bold exercise of prosecutorial discretion set loose a thorn that has slowly but steadily prodded every cog in the complex mechanism that runs the Khmer Rouge tribunal.

{jathumbnail}

The results continue to fascinate, like a thriller published chapter by chapter on the front pages of the papers.

Politics, intrigue, corruption, history, emotion, idealism: it’s all there, oozing from the cuts left by the uncomfortable reality of cases 003 and 004.

Some have decided that if they ignore it, it will eventually go away. Others keep fighting to make sure it never does.

No one knows when or how it will end.

Recent revelations by the Reserve International Co-Investigating Judge are troubling, but in more ways than just the politically motivated alignment they allege to expose.

Perhaps more frightening is the implicit confirmation that the experimental structure of the ECCC is on the brink of failure.

So much time, effort and money has been spent trying to make it work, and the fact it doesn’t is a difficult pill to swallow.

Now the most difficult question: what shall we do about it?

The government has made its position clear; it doesn’t see any problems with the ECCC.

The UN is concerned, and there is talk of its withdrawal.

At first glance, a withdrawal seems a noble act of defiance, a principled refusal to apply the stamp of international legitimacy to a process marred by political scandal.

But consider the likely consequences.

The government has been frank about its views on which four people embody the sum of responsibility for the pain and suffering during the Khmer Rouge reign.

If the UN withdraws, Case 002 will almost certainly go on.

The remaining judges will have less to disagree on. The proceedings will be cheaper and more expeditious.

But will the accused retain their rights and be judged in fairness? Will the victims be satisfied with a verdict without the truth-seeking process?

Who stands to gain, and lose, from such a move?

Those advocating UN withdrawal should entertain these questions, especially if they claim to promote human rights. 

MOST VIEWED

  • Serious flooding across country

    The Kampong Speu provincial Committee for Disaster Management on Wednesday issued an alert after non-stop heavy rain caused widespread flooding. In Koh Kong province, authorities are working with the disaster committee and the Cambodian Red Cross to assist those affected after more than 350 homes were

  • CNRP points to King in call for vote boycott

    Leaders of the former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) have taken a new tack in their call for a boycott of the national elections later this month. They are now claiming that the people should follow the King, who is expected to abide by tradition

  • Actress’s NGO takes heat for promoting the ruling party

    An actress’s NGO which participated in an election campaign event contrary to the Law on Association and Non-Governmental Organisations (Lango) has been slammed. Chorn Chanleakena, a celebrity and the president of the Association of Artists Volunteering to Help Society, allegedly led its members in

  • Troop moves ‘won’t worry people’

    Senior officials at the Ministry of Defence and National Police said on Tuesday that riot training provided to the country’s police forces were aimed at preventing unexpected demonstrations and strikes before and after the July 29 national elections. The troop mobilisation, they said, would not