ECCC Reparations

This blog is designed to serve as a repository of analyses, news reports and press releases related to the issue of RERAPATIONS within the framework of the Extraordinary Chambers in Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), a.k.a. the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

Monday, August 13, 2007

ECCC hit by new fears of delay

Cambodian genocide tribunal hit by new fears of delay
The Associated PressPublished: August 13, 2007

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia: A Cambodian judge in the U.N.-backed genocide tribunal
has been appointed to head the country's Appeals Court, officials said
Monday, sparking fears of a further delay in the trial of former Khmer Rouge

It wasn't immediately clear how the appointment of You Bun Leng, one of two
co-investigating judges, would affect the trial of five former Khmer Rouge
leaders already under his investigation for crimes committed during their
1975-79 rule.

You Bun Leng said Monday that he will discuss his new appointment with his
foreign colleagues, but did not say whether he would step down from his
tribunal position.

He is unlikely to snub the government's new appointment, a posting with
better job security, and due to the heavy workload it would be virtually
impossible to hold down both jobs.

Marcel Lemonde, the U.N.-appointed co-investigating judge, declined to
comment on You Bun Leng's new job.

But Peter Foster, a U.N.-appointed spokesman for the tribunal, said he was
"concerned" and was seeking clarification from relevant officials.

After countless delays, You Bun Leng and Lemonde only recently initiated
investigations into former Khmer Rouge leaders accused of crimes against
humanity, genocide and other atrocities that caused the death of some 1.7
million people in the late 1970s.

Theary Seng, director of Cambodian nonprofit group Center for Social
Development, said she was surprised at the timing of You Bun Leng's
appointment, which came soon after the cases were finally put in the hands
of the investigating judges.

"I think it could slow things down," said Theary Seng, whose organization
closely monitors the tribunal's activities. "The timing of his transfer is
just bad for the Khmer Rouge tribunal."

You Bun Leng said Monday that he will discuss his new appointment with his
foreign colleagues.

The judges have so far indicted one of five suspects recommended by
prosecutors, Duch, whose real name is Kaing Guek Eav and who headed the
former Khmer Rouge S-21 prison. The other four have not been publicly named
and still remain free in Cambodia.

You Bun Leng's replacement must focus his attention on those five cases,
said Youk Chhang, director of Documentation Center of Cambodia, an
independent group compiling evidence of the Khmer Rouge crimes.

"The five cases are the most important and serious ones that can be a
foundation to look at other crimes committed by the Khmer Rouge at that
time," he said.

The government last week by decree appointed You Bun Leng to replace Ly
Vuoch Leng - the only woman serving as a top ranking judge - as president of
the Appeals Court.

Ly Vuoch Leng was removed for her alleged involvement in the release of sex
trafficking offenders who had been convicted by a lower court, Justice
Minister Ang Vong Vathana said Monday.

He declined to elaborate, but local media reported Monday that she had
allegedly taken bribes in exchange for acquitting the offenders. Ly Vuoch
Leng could not be reached for comment.

The tribunal was established last year following many years of negotiations
between Cambodia and the United Nations. Disagreements about tribunal rules
had kept the judges' investigations from being launched until last month.

Trials are expected to take place next year.

Copyright © 2007 the International Herald Tribune All rights reserved


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