Khmernews

No Justice in this World

Posted by khmernews on January 4, 2007

Recently, a foreign magazine has published an article related to the former Khmer Rouge trial under the title ‘No Justice in this World’. The writer of the article mainly focused on three main things that were seen as means used to delay the process of the tribunal over and over again until all former Khmer leaders have died one after another.

The Economic magazine said that no one is sure when the Extraordinary Chamber in the Courts of Cambodia will make allegations against the former Khmer Rouge leaders.

The magazine added that Cambodian judges, investigating judges, and prosecutors complained that there was not enough time to get through the 113 articles of the draft rules. The magazine criticized that the Khmer Rouge tribunal is not an instrument of justice but political tool, and that some current senior Cambodian leaders are former Khmer Rouge cadres and soldiers.

An international legal specialist Jime Goldstone accused the government of feebly acquiescing in official ineptitude, power-grabbing and duplicity. Meanwhile, the general public said that it has not been known when the internal rules will be passed. Moreover, the political influence is likely to have been interfering into the tribunal.

Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, which comprises of 23 local NGOs, the community for Khmer Rouge victims and International league of human rights expressed their concern over the failure of adoption of the extraordinary tribunal’s internal rules in its last plenary session. The internal rules are really needed for conducting investigations and making allegations against people who were most responsible for the crimes committed during the Khmer Rouge regime.

On 25th of November 2006, a day after a week-long meeting, national and international judicial officers of the extraordinary tribunal released a joint statement, saying that they failed to reach an agreement on the draft rules and even some parts that could clear the path for premiere investigations. The tribunal officers also acknowledged the importance of draft rules in launching investigations and allegations.

Cambodian judges and prosecutors and international judges and prosecutors have not yet reached an agreement on a number of key points and some issues which had already stated in the agreement between the United Nations and the Royal Government of Cambodia. These issues are very essential because they have closer relations with an assurance of faire trials. Even though the extraordinary trials are conducted in Cambodian courts, they should meet international standards.

To ensure that the tribunal will meet international standards, and will be independent and transparent, every work concerning the operation of the tribunal should be settled within the tribunal, but not being submitted to the Cambodian authorities. Particularly, the evaluation of lawyers for defendants and victims should be impartial, and the selection of lawyers for the tribunal should be done by the tribunal, which would be a reflection of international standards.

Victims Association should not have registered with the government before it can file a complaint. Additionally, legal actions against the provision of fake evidences in trials should not be sent to other Cambodian courts. Those actions are in the extraordinary tribunal’s jurisdiction.

The Royal Government of Cambodia and the United Nations agreed to create the tribunal in an attempt to allow Cambodian people to know the truth and to receive the justice. Such a historical tribunal should benefit the public rather then an individual.

To win public confidence in the Royal Government of Cambodia and the United Nations, an agreement on the internal rules should be reached as soon as possible to allow the people to be able to attend the trials. However, any compromise that leads to the destruction of international standards and independent and impartial nature of a court is unaccepted.

Therefore, we would like to call for the extraordinary tribunal to achieve an agreement as soon as possible to insure that the trials will meet international standards and will be faire. In addition, we appeal to international community, especially donor countries that funded the extraordinary tribunal to keep their eyes closely on the progress of the internal rules.

Recently, the Amnesty International called for Khan Khek Leu, the former chief of Tuol Sleng prison, to be released on bail following the government has detained him years ago that is contrary to legal procedures. The Amnesty International released a statement by extracting a section in article 9 of an international covenant on civic and political rights which passed by Cambodian parliament in 1992 which states that anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release. As a result, six-year-long detention of Khan Khek Leu without trials does not adhere to international standards.

It has been noticed that following the recent death of Chilean dictator Pinoche has made a number of Cambodian lawmakers and observers worried that the senior Khmer Rouge leaders will have died before the start of the trials. Now Ieng Sary, former Khmer Rouge Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Nuon Chea, former Khmer Rouge President of the National Assembly, are getting old and are threatened by diseases. If trials are still delayed, those remaining senior Khmer Rouge leaders will have die soon before the trial starts.

Not only Cambodian people living in the country but also abroad wanted the trials of the former Khmer Rouge leaders to start in the near future to disclose the real ringleaders who created such a regime and the reasons why about 2 million people were killed at that time. Especially, people wanted to know how those remaining Khmer Rouge leaders will defend themselves in the court against the responsibility for crimes taking place in their regime.

Observers and diplomats expressed their interests in the Economic magazine after they had red one of its article whose title “No justice in this world”, which mentioned a number of irregularities in the Khmer Rouge tribunal. As the matter of fact, it was estimated in advance that the tribunal would not be able to find justice for the Cambodian victims.

Analysts criticized the Cambodian Bar Association [CBA] for demanding rights to participate in the tribunal, saying that the CBA has been placing an obstacle to the process of the tribunal, and that it has been exercising its political influence on the tribunal. The CBA’s interference has obstructed the progress of the tribunal and will make the tribunal meaningless after all former Khmer Rouge leaders have died before the start of the trials.

Extracted from:   Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.13, #2928, Tuesday 26 December 2006

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