Cambodian Judges Complains about OSJI’s Accusation

Posted by khmernews on March 15, 2007

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) requested the American-based organization called Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) on Friday to adjust its statement on corruption of Cambodian officials in the Khmer Rouge Trial.
On behalf of all Cambodian judges, Srim Kong, president of the ECCC, announced that, “The accusation contains no truth. It affects seriously on the honorary and honesty of Cambodian judges.” OSJI denounced in its statement on the 14th of February on deduction of 20 to 30 percent of the Cambodian court officials in order to pay kickbacks to the government officials for their position in the Khmer Rouge Trial. Srim Kong demonstrated that Cambodian judges are not under any pressure and have no relation in any contract. It is completely different from what stated in the statement (of OSJI), he said.

The reactions from Cambodian judges have been seen one month after the statement of the New York-based OSJI, whilst Cambodian and international court officials are trying to find common ground to adopt internal rules for the ECCC through a number of meetings. “We want to give OSJI time to think about their mistakes,” explained Reach Sambath the reason of the delay. Heather Ryan, coordinator of OSJI project, said on Saturday that she was too busy to comment on this issue. Many organizations from civil society have requested an investigation into the corruption in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. On the other hand, the UN promised to make an investigation into this problem, but there is no conclusion released yet.

However, many people think that the success of the Khmer Rouge Trial depends on other things. Theary Seng, director of the Center for Social Development, said that, “If I were OSJI, I would stop talking about the corruption as well as the ECCC. Now, what important is to discuss the procedural rules. It is really important to adopt as soon as possible the procedural rules which will conform to the rules of international courts.”

It should be remembered that OSJI had helped train the staffs of the ECCC before the break-up which was caused by the accusation over the corruption in the ECCC. Reconciliation might have been made recently, but the complaint of the ECCC staffs to the statement of the OSJI will block the cooperation between the two institutions, the Khmer Rouge Trail and OSJI, from working together again. (Informal translation)

Extracted from: Cambodge Soir, #2741, Monday, March 12, 2007.


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