The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Criticized For Not Having Enough ‘Protective System’ To Avoid Political Intervention And Corruption

Posted by khmernews on July 4, 2007

Mut Sruoch
Brad Adam, director of Human Rights Watch Asia, told the media that the tribunal for the prosecution on former Khmer Rouge leaders did not have enough protective system to prevent political intervention from the government and the corruption which had been entangled in the tribunal.

Moreover, Human Rights groups accused the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) that the United Nations was willing to conceal the results of its audit on the corruption in the tribunal.

According to a foreign newspaper published last week, law experts were urging the UN to release the results of the recent audit.

It’s said that the suppression of the UN on the results of the audit would make the UN-backed tribunal for finding justice for nearly 3 million Cambodian victims who were killed during the Khmer Rouge regime lose face.

Accordingly, Brad Adam directly criticized that the tribunal basically didn’t have proper protective system to prevent political intervention from the Phnom Penh government and from corruption in the tribunal.

However, head of Press Office of the ECCC said that the essence of the audit was still a draft and that both parties were negotiating. “Moreover, the document is not for public to see.”

A source from the ECCC hints that the conclusion of the observation on the corruption suggested suspicion on the tribunal.

Separately, concerning the process of the ECCC, it’s reported that the cooperation in a program to heal mental health problem of the witnesses of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal depends on the real situation of the mental health of the victims who were impacted by the Khmer Rouge regime and on the importance of the victims in the tribunal.

Nhem Samnang, official in Witness Support Unit in the ECCC, said that the tribunal could process only when there were witnesses and that if witnesses faced mental health problem or any social problems, it could be said that the tribunal wouldn’t be able to produce satisfying results.

Nhem Samnang pointed out that Witness and Victim Support Units have always been established in International Criminal Court.

Meanwhile, Doctor Chhim Sotheara, director of International Transcultural Psycho-Social organization which has been cooperating with the ECCC to provide emotional support to witnesses, said that according to the study and experience from the International Criminal Court, whenever there was a tribunal, witnesses would face emotional depression since there had to be the recall of the bitter past events.
The doctor said that up to present there had been no study which showed the level of the mental health problem of the victims of the Khmer Rouge regime. “The interrogation from the court’s officials would likely affect witnesses’ metal health.”

Observers of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal expressed their concerns that witnesses of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal are not very confident since they are afraid about the revenge when they talk about the truth which could affect the accused. “Who will be responsible for this?”

Concerning this problem, we have already published that some of the witnesses selected by the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam) are escaping since they are worried of their own security and their family’s after they clarify in the court.

As a result the ECCC should consider carefully about the witnesses. Now everyone is waiting for the internal rules which will be put into use soon. However, it’s not known whether the internal rules pay attention to witnesses or not.

It should be remembered that due to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s irresolute attitude, Brad Adam has directly criticized the Khmer Rouge Tribunal that the court doesn’t have enough protective system to prevent political interfering from the government and the corruption which has to be consequently reformed.      

Informal Translation
-Extracted from Moneaksekar Khmer, vol. 14, #3183, Wednesday, June 13, 2007.


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