Khmernews

Appointment of New Judge, Who Has Problems for Khmer Rouge Tribunal, Is Criticized

Posted by khmernews on November 3, 2006

Appointment of another judge, who has problems for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, is criticized. Mr. Reach Sambath, the Khmer Rouge Tribunal spokesman, said that Mr. Tan Senarong, a former judge of Phnom Penh Municipal Court who is now a judge of Kandal Court, has been appointed as an assistant to co-prosecutors for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.


Mr. Reach Sambath said that the appointment of Mr. Tan Senarong as a judge for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal was not held as a ceremony like the previous appointments, because he is just an assistant to Ms. Chea Leang, a co-prosecutor for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

Mr. Tan Senarong is appointed to collect the evidence and to interview the witnesses for the trial of [former] Khmer Rouge leaders. The co-prosecutors are Ms. Chea Leang from Kompong Speu Court and Mr. Robert Petit from Canada. Now the government appoints Tan Senarong as an assistant to the co-prosecutor in order to collect the evidence and to interview the witnesses for the trial of [former] Khmer Rouge leaders.

Mr. Reach Sambath, the Khmer Rouge Tribunal spokesman, said that Mr. Tan Senarong studied the skill in the United States, he speaks English fluently, and he has a good attitude; therefore, the appointment of him to work in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal is appropriate. However, some observers criticize the appointment.

The observers did not state whether Tan Senarong is a good or bad judge, but the Ministry of Justice once transferred him from the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on accusation of being guilty. So, if he is guilty, the appointment of him as an assistant to the judges is a problem, because in October 2005, the Justice Minister confirmed the transfer of Judge Tan Senarong and another four judges from the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, but he did not mention clearly Tan Senarong’s fault. In May 2006, Tan Senarong was appointed as a judge of Kandal Court.

Last Friday, Ang Vong Vathana affirmed that he does not remember why Tan Senarong was transferred, but Ang Vong Vathana stated that Tan Senarong was not seriously guilty; the transfer of him was just a punishment. It is not known whether the punishment of Judge Tan Senarong was done because he did not carry out the law or he did not obey the order of the power holders. However, if he did not carry out the law and he was punished, the appointment of him as an assistant to co-prosecutors for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal is not good.

Mr. Tan Senarong agreed with the Ministry of Justice about the appointment of him as an assistant to co-prosecutors for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal but he refused to speak about his fault in the past. He also used to be criticized by non-government organizations and civil society for being a judge for the case of an accused, who is Hun Sen’s nephew, Nim Sophea in 2004.

Nim Sophea, Hun Sen’s nephew and his friends drove car, caused traffic accident, and sprayed the crowd with gunfire on 23 October 2003 killing and wounding a number of people. On 11 March 2004, Tan Senarong sentenced Nim Sophea in Phnom Penh Municipal Court by closing the door of the room in order not to allow the journalists and observers to enter to listen to the hearing.

At the trial, Tan Senarong sentenced Nim Sophea to 18 years’ imprisonment and five years’ suspension. However, a few days after the verdict had been released, Nim Sophea was not sent to prison but to stay in a special room of Preah Monivong Hospital which a police hospital under the reason that Nim Sophea had a stomachache.

In August 2004, three judges of the Appeals Court, including Thou Mony who is now a judge for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, decided to drop charges against Nim Sophea.

Thus, most Khmer judges and prosecutors for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal have problems which the observers do not believe that they will be able to find justice for the victims.

Extracted from:

– Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.13, #2973, Monday 2 October 2006

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