Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s Credibility Jeopardized by Corruption and Political Interference on Eve of First Trial

February 12, 2009

NEW YORK, Feb. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Ahead of its first trial, the Cambodian government and international actors must immediately address grave flaws in the tribunal set up to try senior members of the Khmer Rouge for crimes against humanity, warns a report released by the Open Society Justice Initiative today.

The long-awaited trial of Kaing Guek Eav (a.k.a. Duch), the commander of the infamous Toul Sleng S-21 Prison where thousands of Cambodians were tortured and killed, is scheduled to begin next Tuesday in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. The tribunal has charged four other suspects in the murder of almost two million people between 1975 and 1979. Recent reports, however, suggest the Cambodian government is attempting to block further indictments.

“The court must demonstrate that it is not a tool of the Cambodian government and ensure a fair and transparent judicial process,” said James A. Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative. “The court must show it is relying on law and facts, not politics, in deciding how many suspects will be investigated.”

The court has also been plagued by unresolved allegations of corrupt employment practices. A confidential United Nations report in August 2008 detailed complaints of the court’s staff paying kickbacks to political overseers. To date, the United Nations and the Cambodian government have yet to put in place a plan to address the problem.

“The court should take aggressive action to respond to the allegations of corruption and provide protection for whistleblowers,” said Goldston. “Donor governments supporting the court–including Japan, France, and the United States–should continue to do so as long as the tribunal operates as a court of law.”

Recent Developments at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia: February 2009 is the latest in a series of regular Justice Initiative publications offering news, analysis, and recommendations on the ECCC. Previous reports and other background information on the court are available here:


Click here to read or download the full February report: http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2/fs/?file_id=20443

The URL for this page is: http://www.justiceinitiative.org/db/resource2?res_id=104202

The Open Society Justice Initiative, an operational program of the Open Society Institute, pursues law reform activities grounded in the protection of human rights, and contributes to the development of legal capacity for open societies worldwide. The Justice Initiative combines litigation, legal advocacy, technical assistance, and the dissemination of knowledge to secure advances in the following priority areas: anticorruption, equality and citizenship, freedom of information and expression, international justice, and national criminal justice. Its offices are in Abuja, Budapest, London, New York, and Washington DC. www.justiceinitiative.org.

SOURCE Open Society Justice Initiative

Source: newswire

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