Khmernews

The Khmer Rouge Tribunal will Start in April If there are no Obstacles to the Internal Rules

Posted by khmernews on March 15, 2007

The Khmer Rouge Tribunal which has been stuck for a while is expected to start in April if there are no more obstacles to the internal rules.

In a press release early this week, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) said that if the Review Committee can solve disagreements over the internal rules for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in the plenary session of the ECCC in April, the first case from the co-prosecutors will be sent to the co-investigating judges to investigate immediately.

The ECCC Review Committee on Internal Rules will meet again in a plenary session which is scheduled to be held from 07th to 16th of March, 2007 in the administrative offices of the ECCC in Phnom Penh, after there were disagreements in January. 

This plenary session will be held after a meeting of the international judges and prosecutors in Bangkok, Thailand and another meeting of the Cambodian side in Cambodia.

The discussion on the 113 articles of the internal rules for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal has been severely stuck since November, 2006.

According to ECCC officials, international judges and prosecutors have shown their disappointment about the articles of the internal rules, which at present they believe will allow the Cambodian side to have more power than the international side.

In November last year, the Cambodian side tried to use the role of lawyers to interrupt the progress of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. It is a disgrace that they tried to persuade the international lawyers to change their position.

This action made some international judges and prosecutors react angrily and threaten to walk out. Some people have even said that the Cambodian government has political influence over the ECCC.

Hans Corell, former UN coordinator in the Sierra Leone Tribunal, who is now working in the ECCC, wrote in his e-mail that there should be more international judges for the tribunal which is supported by the UN and the tribunal should use the symbol UN although this has been refused.

There has been a stream of criticisms about the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. The most recent being that the tribunal has secretly employed new staff and reduced the salaries of the Cambodian tribunal officials including judges’ and prosecutors’ to pay the kickbacks to officials in the government.

Because of this, there was an audit from an organization called Open Society for Justice Initiative (OSJI) located in New York early this month. However, the results of this audit have not been released yet.

Concerning this issue, an ECCC official said yesterday that Cambodian judges and prosecutors have shown their disappointment on the unequal salaries between the international and Cambodian side, and explained that the roles and qualifications of both sides are similar, but Cambodian side receives only half of the salaries compared to those of the international side.

“Even in the tribunal, they cannot solve their problems and find justice for themselves, can they find justice for nearly 2 million victims who died during the Khmer Rouge regime?” reacted observers.

Extracted from Moneaksekar Khmer. Vol.14, #3097. Wednesday, February 28th, 2007.

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