Cambodia has breached its agreement with the United Nations in refusing to appoint the UN-nominated investigating judge at the Khmer Rouge tribunal, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon‘s spokesman said yesterday.
The UN voiced “serious concern” in a statement released at 3pm New York time over Cambodia’s “unfounded” rejection of Swiss judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet.
“The Royal Government of Cambodia raised ethical concerns in relation to Judge Kasper-Ansermet in November 2011,” spokesman Martin Nesirky said in a statement.
“The United Nations thoroughly reviewed the concerns, determined that they were unfounded, and requested that the Supreme Council of the Magistracy proceed with his appointment,” Nesirky said.
The Cambodian Supreme Council of Magistracy met on January 13 and, despite an obligation to rubber-stamp the UN’s nominee under the 2003 agreement that created the tribunal, refused to appoint him.
They delivered their decision on Wednesday to Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, who chairs the government’s task force on the tribunal, Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana told the Post last week.
The government’s “ethical” concerns relating to Kasper-Ansermet included his use of social-media site Twitter, which the Swiss national has used to evince his determination to investigate controversial cases 003 and 004, which are opposed by the government.
On Thursday, Human Rights Watch’s Phil Roberston told the Post that concerns about Kasper-Ansermet’s use of Twitter were “not legitimate”.
The UN continued to call on the Cambodian government to fulfill their obligation under the Agreement yesterday.
Government spokesmen could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Full story in Monday’s Phnom Penh Post.