Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - UN urges end to KRT meddling

UN urges end to KRT meddling

UN urges end to KRT meddling

The Royal Government of Cambodia was told to refrain from interfering in the work of the Khmer Rouge tribunal during a meeting yesterday between Deputy Prime Minister Sok An and the UN’s most senior legal counsel.

UN Under-Secretary General for Legal Affairs Patricia O’Brien, in Phnom Penh to address concerns of political interference at the tribunal, has unequivocally told the government to stop making statements opposing the progress of the tribunal’s controversial cases 003 and 004.

“The legal counsel strongly urged the Royal Government of Cambodia … to refrain from interfering in any way whatsoever with the judicial process,” a statement released by O’Brien late last night said.

O’Brien’s visit follows the resignat-ion of  Siegfried Blunk, who said he had quit his post as co-investigating judge because of repeated statements from senior government officials in opposition to cases 003 and 004.

004. The crisis of credibility at the court is a quagmire O’Brien was keenly aware of on coming to the Kingdom, and has referred to in her limited public statements.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Sipahn said the government was “offended” by UN allegations of interference in the work of the tribunal.

“Cases 003 and 004 are going on; how can they think we are interfering?” Phay Siphan told the Post yesterday.

“We do not interfere – but there is freedom of expression,” he said. “You cannot tell anyone to stop saying anything.”

Sok An also released a statement about his meeting with O’Brien late last night.

Sok An emphasised the importance of Case 002, and the judgment in Case 001, which is yet to be delivered, and clearly omitted any reference to cases 003 or 004.

“The deputy prime minister emphasised the need for decis-ion-makers on both sides to discharge their responsibilities without allowing themselves to be distracted by intense speculation, pressure and interference from the media and other outside parties,” Sok An said.

The government has repeatedly pointed at rights groups and the media as campaigning against Blunk and pressuring him to resign.

“Now there will have to be an appointment of a new judge,” Phay Siphan said.

He said Sok An and O’Brien had also discussed candidates to replace UN special expert Clint Williamson, who offic-ially finished his duties at the end of last month.

UN spokesman Lars Olsen confirmed the UN was working towards a replacement for Will-iamson at the court, and had been doing so for a while.

“The legal counsel brought up the need to fill the vacancy of the special expert during her meeting with the deputy prime minister,” Olsen told the Post.  

“The UN believes the special expert serves an important function at the court.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Government denies claims former Thai PM Yingluck issued Cambodian passport

    Government officials on Thursday denied claims that a Cambodian passport was issued to former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who reportedly used it to register a company in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong-based English language South China Morning Post (SCMP) on Wednesday reported Hong Kong

  • US’ Cambodian ambassador appointment blocked

    The US Senate returned the nomination of Patrick Murphy as Ambassador to Cambodia back to US President Donald Trump on Thursday, as the American government shutdown entered its third week. The US Senate website announcement said it returned Murphy’s nomination as ambassador as his

  • Diplomatic passports issued to foreigners to be annulled

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will move to annul diplomatic passports issued to those not born in Cambodia. Analysts say the move may be in relation to reports that former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra used a Cambodian passport to register as

  • Hun Sen warns Irish MP of EBA ‘mistake’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday told former Irish premier Enda Kenny, still a member of the EU nation’s parliament, that the 28-nation bloc should not make a “third mistake” regarding Cambodia by using the preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement to “take 16 million