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.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cambodian tribunal denies corruption charges

Phnom Penh (dpa) - The Cambodian government official in charge of the Khmer Rouge tribunal pledged to resign if any allegations of corruption prove true, a court spokesman said Tuesday.

"Sean Visoth has pledged he will resign if any evidence of corruption is found, from today," court spokesman Reach Sambath said.

Visoth is the director of administration for the tribunal.

Allegations of kickbacks and other irregularities have plagued the joint UN-Cambodian court set up to try former Khmer Rouge leaders since 2006, but have been strenuously denied by Cambodian officials, who branded the claims politically motivated and unfair.

Sambath said the court had also set up a mechanism to hear corruption allegations, headed by the court's chief of public affairs Helen Jarvis and director of the nation's Supreme Court, Kong Srim.

Despite allegations that neither are independent of the government, Reach Sambath said the 250 Cambodian staff at the tribunal, which have had 300,000 dollars in salaries frozen by the United Nations Development Fund since June, were pleased.

"When we announced the new committee to the staff, they all cheered," Sambath said. "Everyone is satisfied."

Some estimate that 2 million Cambodians died under the Khmer Rouge's 1975-79 Democratic Kampuchea regime - but others believe the toll was higher. The court currently has five senior former leaders in custody.

It indicted its first defendant, Kaing Guek Eav, aka Duch, the former head of the S-21 torture centre, on August 8, according to court papers.

Cambodia has been ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in Asia by Berlin-based watchdog Transparency International.

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