Friday, 18 November 2011

Open Society Justice Initiative Fact Sheet on Cambodian Tribunal

The Open Society Justice Initiative has issued an excellent two page fact sheet on the work of the ECCC and the Cambodia Tribunal.  You can download the PDF document from this page: Fact Sheet: Khmer Rouge Leaders on Trial.

There was much that I already knew on the fact sheet but a couple of items that were new to me.  For instance, of interest is the fact that the case will be split into a series of phases in order that each issue might be dealt with in full and that judgement can be reached before moving on to the next phase.  This was decided “due to concerns that the elderly defendants might otherwise die before any judgments are brought, and similar concerns about further delaying justice for surviving victims”.

The first phase of the trial will deal with the period immediately following the Khmer Rouge rise to power in April 1975, when a massive proportion of the population was forcibly removed from Phnom Penh and other cities and forced to work in the countryside and rural areas. 

It is intended that future phases of the case will focus on “crimes committed at co-operatives, worksites, security centres, and execution sites, as well as other crimes, including genocide against minorities”.

There has been quite a lot of controversy surrounding the Cambodia Tribunal lately, especially with respect to cases 003 and 004 regarding officially unnamed defendants.  There have been allegations of mishandling of cases and Judge Blunk resigned in October citing political interference in the case.  Despite these difficulties, I concur with the Open Society Justice Initiative when they state:

“If the trial is carried out independently, transparently, and in accord with international standards, it will make a major contribution to the cause of accountability in Cambodia and to the global movement for international justice”.

I would recommend downloading the document as it is a short, easy and informative read.  A direct link to the PDF: Fact Sheet: Khmer Rouge Leaders on Trial (pdf).

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