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.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

"This onsite investigation allowed us to clarify the facts in order to describe the location better"

Duch Shows Judges His Old Prison
By Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer Original report from Phnom Penh27 February 2008

In the second day of tribunal "re-enactments," jailed Khmer Rouge cadre Duch on Wednesday toured the infamous prison he once supervised under the regime.
Neighbors stood in silence as a convoy, sirens wailing, carried Duch from his tribunal detention cell to the prison, where as many as 16,000 Cambodians were tortured at the center and later executed.
Many of the dead were buried at the Choeung Ek "killing fields," which Duch and tribunal officials visited Tuesday.
Officials said the tours, called "re-enactments," are part of the standard proceedings at the tribunal, where Duch has been charged with crimes against humanity for his role as chief of the prison.
Tight security prevented media coverage near the prison, in the center of Phnom Penh, as tribunal judges questioned Duch and witnesses at the now-popular tourist site.
"This onsite investigation allowed us to clarify the facts in order to describe the location better," tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath said at the end of a full day. "The accused and witnesses, they moved with judges to different places in this compound, around the site, and each of them gave an explanation to what happened here 30 years ago."
Bun Thoeun, a 70-year-old with a house near Tuol Sleng, said he appreciated the efforts of the tribunal, especially in bringing Duch to the prison.
"But my suffering with Duch is still the same as before," he said. "Since Duch left Tuol Sleng in 1979, he has never returned to see his crime."

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Duch's Re-Enactment of Crimes

Khmer Rouge jailer re-enacts alleged crimes in Cambodia
Tuesday, February 26, 2008

CHOEUNG EK, Cambodia (AFP) — Detained Khmer Rouge jailer Duch, who faces trial over Cambodia's 1970s genocide, was taken Tuesday to the regime's most notorious killing field to re-enact his alleged crimes for a UN-backed court.
Duch, whose real name is Kaing Guek Eav, last visited the Choeung Ek execution site outside the capital Phnom Penh nearly 30 years ago, while he oversaw the Khmer Rouge's Tuol Sleng prison.
The prison was the Khmer Rouge's main torture centre, where some 16,000 men, women and children were brutalised before being murdered during the regime's repeated purges of its ranks.

Most of those killed at the prison were buried at Choeung Ek, which is now a macabre tourist attraction. Duch, who has not denied his role at Tuol Sleng, is expected to walk the court officials through his actions.
The reconstruction of his actions before court officials and a number of witnesses, believed to include Tuol Sleng survivors, was a normal part of the genocide tribunal's investigation, court officials said.
Tuesday's re-enactment and a similar reconstruction of Duch's actions Wednesday at Tuol Sleng are not open to the public but are being recorded and could eventually be released, the officials said.
The tribunal, which convened in July 2006, is investigating the atrocities committed during the Khmer Rouge's 1975-79 rule over Cambodia ahead of public trials expected to start this year.
Duch was seized by Cambodian authorities in 1999 and held at a military prison until his transfer to the UN-backed tribunal on July 31.
He is one of five former top cadres detained so far by the tribunal, and has been charged with crimes against humanity.
Up to two million people died of starvation and overwork, or were executed by the Khmer Rouge, which dismantled modern Cambodian society in its effort to forge a radical agrarian utopia.

Cities were emptied and their populations exiled to vast collective farms, while schools were closed, religion banned and the educated classes targeted for extermination.
Chea Thoy, who since 1999 has lived only a few hundred metres from Choeung Ek said the re-enactment would benefit young Cambodians who were born after the regime.
"This re-enactment will preserve what happened so that it will not be lost. We can keep it for the young people," said the 60-year-old, who lost 13 relatives including a husband under the Khmer Rouge.

Copyright © 2008 AFP. All rights reserved.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Are the Defendants Slipping Away?

KRouge leader Ieng Sary hospitalised indefinitely: officials
Monday, February 25, 2008

PHNOM PENH (AFP) — Detained Khmer Rouge leader Ieng Sary, one of five top regime cadres expected to face a UN-backed trial over Cambodia's 1970s genocide, has been hospitalised indefinitely, officials said Monday.
The 82-year-old former foreign minister for the regime was taken last week to hospital where doctors "rechecked his health" after a series of scares earlier this year, said tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath.
He will remain hospitalised for "a period of time in order that the doctors can monitor his health," Reach Sambath told AFP.

"The illness is not threatening his life," he added.
Ieng Sary's lawyer Ang Udom confirmed that he had been in hospital.
"I don't know what illness he is suffering from this time," he said, adding that it was not clear when Ieng Sary would be discharged and sent back to detention.
Ieng Sary was hospitalised in late January for treatment of a chronic heart condition. He was in hospital again earlier this month, spending a week under treatment after he began urinating blood.
Ieng Sary has suffered from deteriorating health since his arrest last November, according to his lawyer, highlighting the fragile condition of the tribunal's likely defendants who are mostly in their 70s and 80s.
Their condition has increasingly raised fears that some will not live long enough to be brought to trial for crimes committed during the 1975-79 regime.
Up to two million people died of starvation and overwork, or were executed by the Khmer Rouge, which dismantled modern Cambodian society in its effort to forge a radical agrarian utopia during its ultra-communist rule.
Copyright © 2008 AFP. All rights reserved

Duch: Back at S-21

Former Khmer Rouge leader to 're-enact' crimes for judges
Ian MacKinnon, south-east Asia correspondent
Friday February 22 2008

The Khmer Rouge's chief interrogator who headed the notorious prison where 14,000 Cambodian men, women and children met their deaths is to return to the scene of his alleged crime next week to stage a ghoulish "re-enactment".
The extraordinary scene will see 65-year-old Kaing Guek Eav, known as Duch, guide investigating judges from Cambodia's UN-backed genocide trial through the Tuol Sleng torture centre almost three decades after he fled the advancing Vietnamese troops that ended the Khmer Rouge's four-year reign of terror.
Several of only seven people who survived their incarceration in the former school in Phnom Penh's suburbs will join the party next Wednesday.
Afterwards they will give taped evidence in a "confrontation" with their Khmer Rouge jailer at the tribunal's headquarters.
A day earlier, Duch, who is charged with crimes against humanity along with four other senior Khmer Rouge leaders, will be taken to the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek on the capital's outskirts where most Tuol Sleng inmates were murdered and buried in shallow graves.
Duch, who was a maths teacher before joining the revolution to establish a peasant utopia, will explain to the French co-investigating judge, Marcel Lemonde, and his Cambodian counterpart, You Bun Leng, the details of what happened there in the years after 1975, when up to 1.7 million people died.
The first war crimes trials are due to begin later this year, confounding the fears of many of the Khmer Rouge's victims that the communist ideologues responsible for killing a quarter of the population through torture, execution, disease and starvation might never be brought to justice.
Almost a decade of wrangling over the ground rules governing the tribunal and many petty disputes between the Cambodian judges and lawyers and their international counterparts had threatened to kill off the process before it started.
But the arrests of four senior Khmer Rouge leaders, and the detention by the tribunal of Duch, who was already in military custody, has seen the process move swiftly forward.
The defendants have unsuccessfully appealed their detention orders and have even been confronted by their victims in emotional court testimony.
The re-enactment is part of the judges' investigative process to gather evidence against Duch, who has acknowledged his role in the Killing Fields after finding Christianity.
However, he contends that he was merely following Pol Pot's "verbal orders from the top".
Duch will be accompanied by his lawyers as he walks the judges around the two sites in private. Both serve as a memorial and museum to the dead but will be closed to the public during the re-enactment.
The Killing Fields memorial at Choeung Ek is a glass tower of piles of victims' skulls discovered in the surrounding shallow pits. Duch allegedly sat under a tree watching as Khmer Rouge executioners murdered their victims.
Classrooms at Tuol Sleng remain much as they were left in 1979, with metal-framed beds to which victims were chained before being electrocuted to make them confess to non-existent crimes, invariably of being CIA agents.
Paintings by one Tuol Sleng survivor, Van Nath, graphically portraying other tortures carried out there, adorn the walls of some rooms. The vividly-coloured oils sit beside the stark black-and-white photographs of the thousands brought to the prison.
"For the re-enactment Duch will be assisted by his lawyer," said Lemonde. "This is a normal investigative action, the aim of which is to clarify the declarations by each of the participants, using photos, audio-visual recordings and 3D reconstructions." © Guardian News and Media Limited 2008

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Exercise in Analysis: Compare and Contrast

Open Society Institute's Warnings of "Damocles' Sword over the ECCC"; Where Did the Sword Go?

The statements reproduced below were made roughly a year apart within which the OSI had gone from crying wolf about the alleged corrupt hiring practices in the tribunal to agreeing that, in the end, we should all get along, for the sake of the tribunal. Makes one wonder what ever happened to statements like, better no tribunal than a corrupt tribunal. Who has removed the proverbial sword of Damocles Mr. Goldston was warning us about a year ago? Has the sword in question dissipated into thin air or is the OSI suggesting we learn how not to notice the large elephant in the room whose alleged presence the Institute was so riled up about just a year ago?

Open Society Institute's Program Officer Panhavuth Long: "We Should Consider the Progress of the Tribunal" (22 February, 2008)

UNDP: Government Won't Probe Tribunal Allegations
By Mean Veasna, VOA Khmer Phnom Penh21 February 2008

The government has declined a request from the UNDP to probe corruption allegations against the Khmer Rouge tribunal, a spokesman for the development program said Thursday.
The UNDP made a formal request in January to Deputy Prime Minister Sok An urging that the government to investigate allegations tribunal personnel paid for their positions.
"The government has underscored that the investigation is not appropriate at this time, if we take into consideration the progress of the tribunal," UNDP spokesman Men Kim Seng said. "The UNDP maintains its support for the [tribunal], if the court completes its task of bringing to court those most responsible for crimes during the Democratic Kampuchea regime."The UNDP found in a 2007 audit high salary scales for tribunal staff, significant staff increases and staff that did not meet minimum requirements.
The Open Society Justice Institute has reported allegations that Cambodian staff had to pay government officials in order to work at the tribunal.
"I regret [that the government won't investigate], but the main points are that I think we should consider the progress of the tribunal, and the tribunal must take action to prevent or stop what has happened, like to eradicate corruption," said Long Panhavuth, program officer for OSJI in Phnom Penh.
The corruption allegations could be exploited by lawyers of accused Khmer Rouge leaders and affect international funding contributions to the court, he said.

Tribunal spokeswoman Helen Jarvis deferred questions to government spokesman Khieu Kanharith. Khieu Kanharith could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Open Society Institute's Director James Goldston: "A Sword of Damocles [Hanging] Over the [ECCC] Operations", 7 March, 2007

Letter to the Editor on Corruption Charges at Khmer Rouge Court
By James Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative
Since 2003, the Open Society Justice Initiative has spent hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars assisting in the establishment and successful functioning of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia (ECCC), the mixed domestic/international tribunal launched last year to try the surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge. We urged donors to fund the court. We have argued that critics who refused to cooperate with the court were premature in their condemnation. We have provided expertise and advice to court officials on everything from fund-raising and interpretation to witness protection and evidence gathering.
Last month, we ruffled some feathers by calling for a thorough investigation into widespread allegations of corruption at the ECCC. Strange though it may seem, our aim remains to help the court - by bringing to light a dirty little secret that hangs like a sword of Damocles over its operations. As a human rights monitoring organization, it is our duty to bring these issues to light - but we are not in a position to investigate them in the depth and detail they require. This is the responsibility of the Court, and the parties to the ECCC Agreement. We will continue to monitor the work of the Court.
The allegations of corruption are just that - allegations. But they cannot be ignored. First, they come from a wide range of sources both inside and outside the court. Second, they are remarkably consistent in describing a pattern of kickbacks - a fixed percentage of salaries - paid by Cambodian court staff to those in government who appointed them. Third, they directly undermine the court's most precious resource, public trust. For these reasons, they merit investigation.
Troubling as these charges are, they come at a critical moment in the ECCC's short life. The product of nearly a decade of on-again, off-again negotiations between the UN and the Cambodian government, the tribunal has faced enormous challenges since its birth. Far more than other "hybrid" tribunals established to redress atrocities in the aftermath of conflict, the Extraordinary Chambers reflects the challenges of the domestic legal system in which it sits - including a tradition of political intervention in the judicial process.
Recent developments have confirmed the fears of skeptics. Since November, despite several attempts, the judges have failed to agree on rules of procedure, a prerequisite for trials to go ahead. Last fall, in a misguided effort to preserve monopoly control over the provision of legal defense, the Cambodian bar association scuttled a training of attorneys by a respected international organization.
Some see in these events the hand of political officials whose commitment to genuine prosecution and due process has long been in doubt. They may be right.
But the international community, which has funded most of the ECCC's $56.3 million budget, also bears responsibility. For years, donor governments have ignored the misuse, if not outright theft, of vast sums in international development aid to Cambodia. If the Extraordinary Chambers is to have any credibility, this practice of conscious avoidance must end.
If promptly confronted, these newest questions offer an opportunity to show that impartial, independent and honest justice is possible in Cambodia. Corruption is hardly unknown to criminal tribunals. Even the new generation of international courts trying crimes against humanity has experienced its share of taint. In their early years, both UN courts created to prosecute abuses in, respectively, the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, were marred by reports of corruption. But by quickly owning up to the problems, and then swiftly and decisively addressing them, the courts gained renewed respect.
To its credit, the United Nations Development Program, which administers much of the donor funding for the ECCC, has commissioned an internal audit to examine the court's human resource management. The covert nature of corruption, and the real danger for any Cambodian publicly associated with accusations of government misconduct, pose major challenges to any investigation.
Still, a number of steps should be taken no matter how conclusive the ultimate findings. These include ensuring greater transparency in hiring procedures and human resource management; creating a "whistleblower" mechanism with both incentives and protection for witnesses to alert all parties of corruption concerns; and placing a full-time financial monitor within the ECCC, reporting publicly on a regular basis to the Cambodian government, the United Nations, and the Group of Interested States, which informally oversees the court's work.
Corruption is a sensitive matter. But that is all the more reason to deal with it. This is important for Cambodia, which urgently needs sound governance and revenue transparency policies following the discovery of oil and natural gas in its territorial waters. It is essential for the cause of international justice, which requires public confidence to fulfill its mission of ending impunity for mass crimes. And it is necessary for the ECCC and the two million victims of Khmer Rouge genocide, whose loved ones have waited far too long for the prospect of accountability now to be swept under the rug.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Duch Investigation Could Last to April: Expert

By Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer Washington21 February 2008

The investigation leading to the trial of Khmer Rouge prison chief Duch could last through April, with trials starting thereafter, a tribunal expert said Tuesday.
That means Duch, whose real name is Kaing Khek Iev, 65, could see a trial in the second half of 2008, "if there are not political or other problems acting as obstacles," said Hisham Mousar, a tribunal monitor for the rights group Adhoc.

Duch oversaw the infamous Tuol Sleng prison in Phnom Penh, where as many as 16,000 Cambodians were tortured, later to be executed in the "killing fields" outside the capital.
His trial would be the first of five jailed Khmer Rouge leaders, who were ousted from power nearly 30 years ago.
Tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath said the investigators were "expediting the investigation" and would wrap up their work by Khmer New Year, in mid-April.

Gov't Won't Investigate Allegations of Corruption; the Whistle-Blower NGO Agrees

UNDP: Government Won't Probe Tribunal Allegations

By Mean Veasna, VOA Khmer Phnom Penh21 February 2008

The government has declined a request from the UNDP to probe corruption allegations against the Khmer Rouge tribunal, a spokesman for the development program said Thursday.
The UNDP made a formal request in January to Deputy Prime Minister Sok An urging that the government to investigate allegations tribunal personnel paid for their positions.
"The government has underscored that the investigation is not appropriate at this time, if we take into consideration the progress of the tribunal," UNDP spokesman Men Kim Seng said. "The UNDP maintains its support for the [tribunal], if the court completes its task of bringing to court those most responsible for crimes during the Democratic Kampuchea regime."The UNDP found in a 2007 audit high salary scales for tribunal staff, significant staff increases and staff that did not meet minimum requirements.
The Open Society Justice Institute has reported allegations that Cambodian staff had to pay government officials in order to work at the tribunal.
"I regret [that the government won't investigate], but the main points are that I think we should consider the progress of the tribunal, and the tribunal must take action to prevent or stop what has happened, like to eradicate corruption," said Long Panhavuth, program officer for OSJI in Phnom Penh.
The corruption allegations could be exploited by lawyers of accused Khmer Rouge leaders and affect international funding contributions to the court, he said.

Tribunal spokeswoman Helen Jarvis deferred questions to government spokesman Khieu Kanharith. Khieu Kanharith could not be reached for comment Thursday.

What Are the OCIJ Investigators Hoping to Find at the Museum?

by Stan Starygin
The announcement that the investigators of the Office of the Co-Investigating Judges will be probing the premises of Toul Sleng and Cheung Ek museums is most perplexing as it begs a question about what exactly these investigators are hoping to find at, perhaps, the world's most disturbed crime scenes which have been re-arranged several times in the last 30 years and contaminated by hundreds of thousands of domestic and international visitors? Could this be that this 'probe' isn't much more than a field trip for the investigators who hadn't done it on their own time before?

Public Notice of OCIJ On-Site Investigation

ECCC Media Alert:
Public Notice of OCIJ On-Site Investigation

As part of the ongoing work of the Office of the Co-Investigating Judges, on-site investigations are being held on Tuesday 26 Feb 2008 at Choeung Ek and on Wednesday 27 Feb at Tuol Sleng.

Such on-site investigations are a normal part of judicial investigation, which is confidential. On those dates the respective sites and their surrounding areas will be closed to the public, including the press. Appropriate and strict security measures will be in place.

We regret any inconvenience that may be caused by these closures, and are confident that everyone will facilitate the work of the ECCC. We hope that this advance notice will enable people to re-schedule their activities if they had planned to visit the sites on those days.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Jacques Verges: The Man and His Statements of Note

Everybody has a right to be defended, and every lawyer has a duty to defend people accused. And my office is to defend him, to discuss the accusation point by point, as I think this is a normal step in a democracy. Jacques Verges

From this point of view, as a French - I have no complex about this, of inferiority. And I try to have no complex of superiority. Jacques Verges

Here, I am looking for a document issued by a public attorney. I don't find. He is accused by the political leaders of the coalition, by his enemies, who said that he is guilty. That he deserves to be killed. Jacques Verges

I am not able of hating. I am not able of hating. Jacques Verges

I am waiting for the decision, which is not depending of me, to know if the trial will be in Iraq, in the states, or in international court. Of course, the decision is not mine. Jacques Verges

In a democratic country, when a man is accused, he's accused from a document issued by the public attorney. Jacques Verges

It is good for society to have this introspection. Jacques Verges

The links between the American government and the Iraqi government are so close that you cannot judge one without asking at least the other what he has done by this time. Jacques Verges

This mass destructive weapons were sold to Iraqi government by the United States. And Mr. Rumsfeld has been one of the man responsible for this sale, for this bargain, for this market. Jacques Verges

Well, I know that 500,000 children died in Iraq because of the embargo. Jacques Verges

You know, I am against lynching and lynching is a tendency of the people. Jacques Verges

Khieu Samphan's International Lawyer Suspends His Communication with the Office of Co-Investigating Judges

Khieu Samphan's international attorney, the famous/infamous Jacques Verges, was quoted as saying that he would not communicate with the Office of Co-Investigating Judges (OCIJ) of the ECCC until every piece of evidence the OCIJ has is translated into French (most of the submissions are currently made in English with the originals being in Khmer). Although Verges is conversant in English, for reasons undisclosed, he chooses to have the process stalled until the ECCC creates an opportunity for him to work through the mounting body of evidence in his native language. Technically, by demanding the court undertake a great amount of extra translating work, Verges does not make an unreasonable request as, by law, there are three official languages of the court -- Khmer, English and French -- into which all court documents must be translated.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Latest-to-Date Call for Amicus Curiae Briefs Is About to Expire

The Pre-Trial Chamber has opened a call for amicus curiae briefs from all parties involved, including the general public, to address an issue raised at the hearing of the appeal of Noun Chea's provisional (pre-trial) detention. The issue was raised by Mr. Noun's Co-Lawyers who argued that the civil parties' unfettered participation in the proceedings violates the accused's right to a fair trial.
Deadline for submission: 3:30 PM, 22 Feb, 2008 (overall time allowance: 10 days)

For further details, see

Cambodia: whose tribunal is it anyway?

The West is turning the trial of surviving members of the Khmer Rouge - its former allies -
into a piece of self-promoting political theatre.
Sebastian Strangio
Monday 18 February 2008
For nearly three decades, Cambodians have lived under the shadow of Pol Pot’s ‘Democratic Kampuchea’, a regime whose policies during 1975-79 turned Cambodia into a ‘land of blood and tears’ - a vast agrarian social experiment that enslaved the population and led to the deaths of an estimated 1.7million Cambodians.
In the years since, no senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge have been punished for the atrocities of Pol Pot’s regime. But time may finally be catching up with the surviving Khmer Rouge. Following six years of acrimonious negotiations between the UN and the Cambodian government, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) was established in 2006, with the hope that ‘the senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge and those most responsible for serious crimes [would now] be held accountable for their crimes’ (1). A number of prominent ex-Khmer Rouge, including Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary, have been arrested and are scheduled to enter the dock in the coming months.
But for all its high-minded rhetoric, it’s unclear whether the ECCC will be able to deliver the ‘justice’ it is promising. The ‘mixed’ (joint UN-Cambodian) tribunal is beset by ballooning budgets and legal red-tape, and the proceedings are crawling along at a glacial pace. Last month, the ECCC revised its budget upwards to $169.7million - up from an original $56.3million - and pushed back its expected finishing date until the end of 2011. Even compared to other international tribunals, which have numerous problems of their own, justice for Cambodia isn’t coming cheap. The hybrid UN tribunal in East Timor had an initial budget of just $6million, while the court in Bosnia & Herzegovina is currently trying 400 defendants on a relatively frugal $10million per year (2). So far, just five defendants have been arraigned by the Phnom Penh court - at an ultimate cost of nearly $34million each - and it has yet to move beyond a series of lengthy pre-trial appeals.

However, since the trials are expected to last at least until 2011, there’s every chance that the defendants will be dead before the ECCC has a chance to hand down its verdict. Pol Pot - ‘Brother Number One’ - evaded justice by dying in mysterious circumstances in April 1998. In 2006, the one-legged Ta Mok - nicknamed ‘the Butcher’ for his ruthless purges - died in prison. Of the current defendants, ex-head of state Khieu Samphan suffered a stroke on the eve of his arrest in November last year (3), and Ieng Sary, Pol Pot’s foreign minister, was admitted to hospital on 4 February this year with heart problems (4). With such frail defendants in the dock, speed and efficiency are clearly of the essence.
But if the tortuous gestation of the ECCC is anything to go by, justice may once again elude Cambodia. Indeed, like other international war-crimes tribunals, the ECCC is marked by power politics, political obfuscation and Western grandstanding. In the years following the deposition of the Khmer Rouge by the Vietnamese army in January 1979, few nations outside the Soviet bloc paid any attention to the evidence of Khmer Rouge atrocities. According to the cruel dictates of Cold War realpolitik, many governments - including the United States, Britain, Australia, Singapore and China - aided and abetted the bloody Khmer Rouge insurgency against the new Soviet-backed Phnom Penh government. In September 1979, the UN voted to retain Khmer Rouge representation in the General Assembly, a post the Khmer Rouge occupied until 1991. Meanwhile, Western relief funds flowed to the Coalition of the Democratic Government of Kampuchea (CGDK), a corrupt Khmer Rouge-dominated resistance front, which, as one analyst wryly pointed out, was ‘neither a coalition, nor democratic, nor a government, nor in Kampuchea’ (5). By a dark twist of irony, international funds intended to rebuild the Cambodian state flowed to those most responsible for destroying it.

In the 1980s, journalist John Pilger uncovered evidence that British special forces had offered covert assistance to the CGDK, training Khmer Rouge troops in ‘[land] mines technology’ for use in the ongoing civil war (6). The United States - whose intensive bombing of areas with communist bases during 1969-73 arguably did much to bring Pol Pot to power - pursued a ‘hands-off’ policy, turning a blind eye to China’s continuing support of the Khmer Rouge and the shady activities of the Thai military, which gave its protection to Khmer Rouge top-brass throughout the 1980s and 1990s (7).
With the end of the Cold War and the onset of a UN-brokered peace agreement, Cambodia emerged as the darling of the international NGO community - an ‘aid market’ and developmental blank slate upon which lingering guilt over the West’s connivance in Cambodia’s civil war could conveniently be expiated (8). Free of the paralysing polarities of the Cold War, many Western governments now argued that the time was right for the trial of the Khmer Rouge leadership. In July 1997, Cambodian co-prime ministers Hun Sen and Prince Norodom Ranariddh requested UN aid in establishing a tribunal to bring the remaining Khmer Rouge to justice. The ensuing negotiations, however, demonstrated just how far local and international notions of ‘justice’ diverged.
The Cambodian negotiators consistently argued that the trials had to take place firmly within the context of Cambodian sovereignty and involve a majority of local judges and prosecutors. Many in the international community, on the other hand, expressed fears that a trial conducted in Cambodia’s court system, and under Cambodian law, could never deliver a ‘fair’ and ‘transparent’ verdict. NGOs such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International criticised the weakness of the Cambodian judiciary, which was (and still is) more or less subordinate to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP). The UN negotiating team, led by Hans Corell, the head of the UN Office of Legal Affairs, steadfastly argued that any tribunal had to be composed of international judges and prosecutors, and preferably conducted in a location outside the country (such as The Hague). At several points, the condescending attitude of the UN towards the Cambodian government threatened to derail the Khmer Rouge tribunal altogether. In February 2002, Corell withdrew from the negotiations, infuriated by the ‘obfuscation’ of the Cambodian negotiators. The resulting deadlock prolonged the formation of the ECCC by nearly a year.

Even when a final agreement on the hybrid tribunal was signed in June 2003, it came under fire from Western human rights NGOs for ‘falling short’ of international standards of impartiality and justice. Due to the ‘precarious state of Cambodia’s judiciary’, Amnesty International argued, the UN General Assembly should ‘make the improvements necessary to bring [the tribunal] agreement into line with international laws and standards’ (9). For Amnesty, no trial was preferable to a ‘flawed’ one - a noble sentiment, perhaps, but one that disregarded political constraints, not to mention the advanced age of most of the defendants.
Western guilt has seemingly given birth to the idea that any legitimate trial must be conducted by the West on Cambodia’s behalf. Some human rights activists would undoubtedly prefer a trial within the legal vacuum of The Hague, shorn of the ‘difficulties’ of dealing with the corrupt and ‘inexperienced’ Cambodian legal system. But if the trials are to finally bring justice to Cambodia and heal the wounds of war, Cambodians must have ownership of the process. It’s their future - not the West’s - that is at stake. As American lawyer Gregory Stanton has argued, the real ‘enemy of justice’ in Cambodia is a well-meaning but misdirected legal purism, which, if heeded, would only give succour to Cambodia’s culture of legal impunity (10). Clearly, some degree of justice is better than none at all.
NGOs and Western governments are right to complain about the corruption of Cambodia’s judiciary. But the impartiality of the current tribunal is equally questionable: under the close scrutiny of the international community, eager to see ‘justice’ done, the pressure on the ECCC to reach the expected ‘guilty’ verdict will be enormous. Dutch lawyer Victor Koppe, ex-Khmer Rouge ideologist Nuon Chea’s defence counsel, is right to ask whether a presumption of guilt is built into the political architecture of the ECCC. ‘The [main] question’, according to Koppe, ‘is whether or not everything in this tribunal is institutionalised in such a way that only guilty verdicts can come’ (11).

He has a point. The ECCC’s claim that ‘fair trials will ease the burden that weighs on the survivors’ (12), is pregnant with assumptions, not least of which is the presumption of guilt. And this raises a further question: how would the surviving victims of the Khmer Rouge react if the defendants - widely acknowledged as responsible for crimes against humanity while in power - were to be acquitted by a fair and impartial court? Seen in this light, the ECCC and its international backers seem less concerned with justice - in the sense of fair and equal treatment before the law - than with stage-managing an elaborate piece of political theatre.
The ECCC graphically demonstrates the problems in using ‘justice’ to achieve social or political aims, whether they be ‘resolution’ for the Cambodian people or local judicial reform. But true justice is more than a public relations exercise. Any war-crimes tribunal that is yoked to a political agenda, however noble or high-minded, is of questionable legitimacy. In this context, the legal purism of the UN and human rights NGOs starts to look less like a concern for the quality of the trial process and more like a case of Western vanity and self-aggrandisement again delaying the arrival of justice in Cambodia.
For all its hype, the UN-backed tribunal process is yet to deliver any tangible results, and whether it will manage to beat the remaining Khmer Rouge leadership to the grave is increasingly uncertain. But as the clock runs down, any measure of justice, even if it is not the ‘sanctioned’ justice of the international community, is surely better than the impunity of the present.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Defense Fumbles; Pre-Trial Chamber Stumbles, Drops the Ball But Miraculously Gets It Right In the End

Motion for and Decision on Judge Ney Thol’s Disqualification: Analysis

Defense Fumbles; Pre-Trial Chamber Stumbles, Drops the Ball But Miraculously Gets It Right In the End

by Stan Starygin

Boiled down to the essentials the intentions of the parties to this dispute were as follows: the defense wanted to have Ney Thol removed from the PTC panel which was about to hear Noun Chea’s appeal of pre-trial detention and, ultimately, have him removed from the tribunal altogether; the PTC wanted to save Ney Thol as one of their own and avoid any repercussions which such a removal might result in politically; the prosecution – perhaps for reasons of opposing everything the defense argues or, perhaps, because of seeing that Ney Thol’s prior record shows that he would break any tie, if there is one, in favor of the prosecution – wanted to save Ney Thol too. Ney Thol, himself, wanted to save Ney Thol, too, which he made abundantly and “categorically” clear in his response to the defense’s motion.

The defense attacked Judge Ney on the grounds created by Rule 34.2 of the Internal Rules of the ECCC which reads as follows:

“Any party may file an application for disqualification of a judge in any case in which the Judge has a personal or financial interest or concerning which the Judge has, or has had, any association which objectively might affect his or her impartiality, or objectively gives rise to the appearance of bias”.

This rule creates four instances in which an ECCC judge can be disqualified: (1) cases in which he/she has a personal; or (2) cases in which he/she has a financial interest; (3) or has any association which objectively might affect the judge’s impartiality; or (4) objectively gives rise to the appearance of bias). I embedded ‘ors’ into the text of the rule to demonstrate that this is not a four-prong test in which all four prongs must be satisfied, but instead a compilation of independent tests enshrined in one rule. This being the case, for the defense to make a compelling argument for Ney Thol’s removal the satisfaction of one of the four tests would have sufficed. Since it was untenable that any proof could be found to satisfy (1) or (2) – as it is hard to imagine, leave alone prove, that Ney Thol might have any personal or financial interest in the outcome of Noun Chea’s or any other defendant’s cases (save for Duch’s for which Ney Thol recused himself) – for which reason the defense refrain from pursuing any arguments based on these two (PTC refers to (1) and (2), cumulatively, as ‘the Subjective Test’). The defense, therefore, correctly, chose to battle over the last two tests of Rule 34.2, (3) and (4), i.e. ‘the association test’ and ‘the bias test’. To satisfy these two tests the defense argued the following which the defense framed as ‘the crux of the application’:

The crux of the application is twofold: (i) Judge Ney’s position as an officer in the RCAF amounts to an “association which objectively might affect his […] impartiality” and (ii) his demonstrated willingness to inappropriately employ his judicial power at the behest of the CPP “objectively give[s] rise to the appearance of bias”. In other words, Judge Ney’s position as a serving military officer and his participation in highly questionable judicial decisions “would lead a reasonable observer, properly informed, to reasonably apprehend bias” against Mr. Noun and the Khmer Rouge and in favor of the CPP.

The Chamber began responding to this by applying the somewhat controversial Furundzia test of judicial impartiality predicated on the ICTY’s Appeal Chamber’s imposition of a high threshold of burden of proof in cases where motion for disqualification of judges are filed. The Chamber’s assertion of the broad and unquestioned application of the Furundzia test internationally is not particularly accurate as there is a large number of jurisdictions which allow peremptory disqualification of judges (also known as ‘peremptory papering’). Although the defense might have counted on the application of the latter, it should have tried to overcome Furundzia, the effort that does not get across loud and clear from the pages of the defense’s motion.

The Chamber then cited the provision of the Agreement which outlines the judicial qualifications for ECCC judges. This is not a flawless argument on the part of the Chamber, as the lawyers in question were not in a position to challenge judicial candidates, either on the Cambodian side or the UN side, throughout the entire process of thrashing out the Cambodian and international lists. These lists, in fact, were kept secret until after the candidates were approved by the UN and the Supreme Council of Magistracy. Even to date, when the defense requested resumes of the currently sitting ECCC judges, this request was denied for which no clear and convincing justification was provided. In this case, however, Furundzia stands as the defense failed to provide a better reference to an authority that would have a chance of overpowering Furundzia.

The Chamber further parsed “the crux of [defense’s] application” and addressed tests (3) and (4) separately. In response to the defense’s claim of ‘association’, the Chamber pointed out Ney Thol did not act in his military officer capacity when executing his duties of an ECCC judge. This statement of the PTC does not merit further analysis as it demonstrates the PTC’s international component’s – who sources identify as responsible for the crafting of PTC’s decisions – lack of understanding of Cambodian political culture at its most fundamental level. I am convinced there is a provision of the law – or rather lack of thereof – which creates no requirement for judicial candidates to be familiar with the Cambodian political and legal culture, which I am sure the judges will be able to demonstrate if called upon. The weakness of this argument would have till undermined the quality of the decision had it not been the only argument the PTC hinged its rebuttal of the defense’s argument upon, but, alas, it was which, in a manner of speaking, was a tiny dart that killed the elephant. ‘The elephant’, however, was greatly undermined by the fact that the defense did not attempt to bring the argument of political culture into the mix.

In its test (4) rebuttal, the Chamber, in summary, wants us to believe that (a) the three clearly political – and defined as such by most state and reporting agencies in the world (to this end the Chamber could have consulted the USDI HR, HRW, AI reports for the relevant years which if it did, it chose not to mention in this decision) -- cases adjudicated by Ney Thol were merely “allegedly political”. The use of the term ‘alleged’ only makes sense if the allegation has any chance of adjudication in a foreseeable future and by a court of law. It is untenable to believe that such adjudication is a substantive or political possibility which renders the use of said term in this context redundant; (b) that by taking ECCC’s oath Judge Ney disabused himself of all his prior prejudices and preconceptions which include political beliefs and alliances.

Towards the very end of the decision, however, the Chamber delivered a tough blow which shattered the entire rickety structure of the defense – mounted for both tests (3) and (4) – by pointing out that Rule 34 (2) does not include the overall professional record of a particular judge but his/her relation to the case (s) in question which renders any arguments predicated on Ney Thol’s prior judicial record moot. Rule 34 (2) might not be the best crafted or most conducive to a fair trial but it is the law. The defense should have read it more closely. What a blow. The PTC steals the game after a succession of fumbles!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

US: Cambodia's Latest Bill of Health

The United States and Cambodia: Bilateral Relations and Bilateral Debt
U.S. Department of State

Scot Marciel,Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Tesimony Before the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment House Foreign Affairs Committee
Washington, DC
February 14, 2008

Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Manzullo, and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for inviting me here today to testify about the growing U.S.- Cambodia bilateral relationship and, in particular, Cambodia’s outstanding bilateral debt to the United States.
The bilateral relationship between the United States and Cambodia has been steadily improving, especially over the course of the past two years. Although Cambodia continues to undergo a difficult transition to democratic governance, we have seen positive developments in several key areas, including the strengthening of civil society and democratic processes, rapid economic growth, improvements in the fight against trafficking, support for democratic reforms in Burma, and increasing religious tolerance. While longstanding problems in the electoral process persist, which we are working to address through our democracy assistance programs, Cambodia’s April 2007 commune-level elections were peaceful and generally positive. National elections are scheduled for July 2008.
U.S. - Cambodia cooperation in a number of areas is growing and moving our bilateral relationship forward. In 2007, Cambodia hosted two
U.S. Navy ships – the first to visit in over 30 years – and inaugurated a Peace Corps program. With U.S. encouragement and support, Cambodia has taken increasingly responsible positions on the world stage, including sending de-miners to participate in a UN peacekeeping mission to the Sudan and instituting a parliamentary caucus on Burma. We share good cooperation with the Cambodian military on counterterrorism and POW/MIA accounting.
Despite this progress, weak rule of law, rampant corruption, and weak institutions remain major challenges to Cambodia’s democratic development and sustained economic growth. While the political opposition plays a role in the country’s political affairs, the ruling party dominates all branches of the government. Cambodia’s leaders continue to occasionally use its weak and easily-influenced judiciary to pursue legal cases against critics and the political opposition. Land disputes and forced evictions, often accompanied by violence, continue to be a high-profile problem. Cambodia’s health and education system were largely decimated during the reign of the Khmer Rouge (1975 – 1979), and this legacy continues to hamper the country’s social and economic development.
In Cambodia’s efforts to deal with the legacy of the Khmer Rouge, the U.S. strongly supports bringing to justice senior leaders responsible for the atrocities committed under that regime. We applaud the progress made by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), a Cambodian government and UN hybrid tribunal created in 2004 to try those individuals most responsible for the crimes committed under the Khmer Rouge regime in which nearly two million Cambodians were killed. The investigative phase of the tribunal is now underway and five former Khmer Rouge senior officials have been charged with war crimes and/or crimes against humanity. The
U.S. has not in the past provided direct funding to the ECCC, due to congressional and Administration concerns about the tribunal’s quality, and in particular that the tribunal is not capable of meeting “international standards of justice.” However, in light of the Court’s progress during the past year, the Department is currently reviewing the tribunal and its operations, including whether or not it is capable of meeting international standards of justice, in order to make a decision regarding future funding.
Economy and Trade
Cambodia has taken a number of important policy measures recently to improve its business climate and promote economic growth. Cambodia joined the World Trade Organization in 2004 committing to implement global trading rules and opening its economy to foreign investment and trade. Implementation of these WTO commitments and other economic reforms have resulted in annual GDP growth rates in the 8 – 10 percent range over the past two years. Despite these impressive results, Cambodia remains a poor country: per capita income is only $590 per year; education levels are lower than in most neighboring countries; and infrastructure remains inadequate. Economic opportunity and competitiveness continue to be retarded by corruption and lack of legal protections for investors, and there are significant questions regarding the sustainability of recent high economic growth rates.
’s largest trading partner is the United States. Garments dominate Cambodia’s exports, especially to the U.S., and accounted for over $2.6 billion in 2007. The garment industry employs roughly 350,000 workers, mostly women. Cambodia has developed a good labor record in the garment sector, built through close cooperation with the International Labor Organization and the U.S. Government, which has attracted socially conscious buyers in the United States. Since the end of the WTO’s Multi-Fiber Agreement in 2004, Cambodia has defied expectations that its garment industry would shrink significantly. In fact, exports have grown by nearly 20 percent, due in part to safeguards placed on imports of apparel from China. The U.S. safeguards on Chinese textiles will expire at the end of 2008, and under WTO rules cannot be renewed. The U.S. will continue to help accelerate economic opportunity and competitiveness in Cambodia by encouraging policy reform, implementing measures to reduce and eliminate corruption, and strengthening the legal framework for investors.
In July 2006, the U.S. and Cambodia signed a bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), and the first round of discussions took place in Cambodia in February 2007. The on-going bilateral TIFA dialogue is focused on creating a cooperative mechanism to deepen and expand bilateral trade and investment ties, and supporting Cambodia’s efforts to implement its WTO commitments and other domestic economic reforms. Our engagement with Cambodia under this dialogue has been highly successful. In November 2007, Ambassador Susan Schwab led the bilateral dialogue, becoming the first U.S. Trade Representative to visit Cambodia.
U.S. Assistance to Cambodia
Cambodia is the third-largest recipient of U.S. foreign assistance in the East Asia and Pacific region. In 2007, Cambodia received $62 million to cover a broad array of important issues, including HIV/AIDS and maternal health, demining and professionalizing the military, strengthening good governance and human rights, and promoting economic development (see Appendix 1). U.S. assistance also supports programs to reverse the current culture of impunity, while strengthening civil society's ability to address legal and judicial reform, land tenure, rights of workers and children, and prevention of trafficking in persons. The U.S. also encourages expanded political participation by youth and women in elections and political processes. The USG provides assistance to improve the quality of and access to education, teacher training, assisting school directors to measure performance, and strengthening the leadership of the education system. We hope to increase the number of Cambodians studying in the United States under Fulbright and Humphrey Fellowship programs beyond the current twenty. U.S. assistance also helps preserve Cambodia’s rich natural resources, by building increased transparency in natural resources management.
From 1997 to 2007, legislative restrictions limited direct funding to the central government of Cambodia. Current assistance programs started since the restrictions were removed are carefully targeted to ensure funds are being used effectively to promote reform.

U.S. Policy on Restructuring Official Foreign Debts
Debt relief can be an important means of achieving U.S. goals of promoting economic growth, well-functioning financial markets, and economic reform abroad. Longstanding U.S. policy is to coordinate sovereign debt restructuring internationally, primarily through the Paris Club group of official creditors. This multilateral approach is a good value for the U.S. taxpayer because it increases recoveries from countries that are not paying their debts to the U.S., while maximizing benefits of debt relief for heavily-indebted, low-income countries that are unable to meet their payment obligations.
The United States provides debt cancellation only under limited circumstances, for example, as a Paris Club creditor in the Enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. This approach provides budgetary resources to pay for the cost of debt relief for debtor countries that are in debt distress. These debtor counties commit to implement economic reforms aimed to reduce poverty and help avoid a new build-up of unsustainable debt before having debt relief. In evaluating requests for debt cancellation, the U.S. and other major official creditor countries rely heavily on International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank assessments of a debtor country’s financial need for debt relief and willingness to undertake reforms. Congress has reinforced this need-based approach to debt relief by enacting statutes such as the Special Debt for the Poorest authorization (enacted this year as Section 662 of the Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Program Appropriations Act, Division J of
P.L. No. 110-161) and the Enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (Title V of Appendix E of H.R. 3425, as enacted into law by Section 1000(a)(5) of P.L. No. 106-113). These statutes authorize the Executive Branch, under specific circumstances, to reduce or otherwise restructure sovereign debts, which are considered U.S. Government assets.
Cambodia’s External Debt
Cambodia’s public debt is almost entirely external, of which roughly one-third is owed to the United States and Russia. At the end of 2006, Cambodia’s debt was 31 percent of its GDP. According to the World Bank and the IMF, Cambodia’s debt is on a sustainable path and the risk of debt distress is judged “moderate,” an improvement from the 2006 assessment that Cambodia’s risk was “high,” thanks to higher-than-expected GDP growth and additional large-scale concessional financing from creditors such as China and South Korea. IMF and World Bank data indicate that, in 2007, Cambodia’s debt-to-exports ratio was 32 percent and its debt-to-government revenues ratio was 188 percent (net present value terms). In comparison, the threshold levels of indebtedness needed to qualify for debt relief under the Enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative are 150 percent (debt-to-exports) and 250 percent (debt-to-revenues). Simply put, Cambodia does not qualify for debt relief under Enhanced HIPC applying the usual criteria, which were designed to identify the most heavily debt burdened poor countries. Based on the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative’s different eligibility criteria, Cambodia benefited from $82 million in IMF debt relief in January 2006.

Cambodia’s Debt to the United States
Cambodia’s bilateral debt to the U.S. Government stems from shipments of U.S. agricultural commodities, such as cotton, rice, and wheat flour, financed with low interest-rate loans by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) under Title I of the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954 (P.L. 480). The U.S. and Cambodia signed three “P.L. 480 agreements” in 1972, 1973, and 1974, during the Vietnam War and Cambodia’s turbulent Lon Nol era. The United States accepted significant payments in local currency under a “Currency Use Payment” provision commonly included in such agreements; the remainder of the debt was to be paid in dollars. The Lon Nol regime never consolidated its hold on the country and ultimately Cambodia fell to the Khmer Rouge in 1975, which ceased servicing this debt. Arrears and late interest accumulated over the next three decades.
In 1995, the Paris Club group of creditor nations and Cambodia reached an agreement to restructure Cambodia’s debt on “Naples” terms – then the most generous treatment in the Paris Club’s “toolkit.” At the time, the U.S. was by far Cambodia’s largest Paris Club creditor. Cambodia benefited from a 67 percent reduction of certain non-concessional debts, and a long-term rescheduling of certain concessional debts. Since all of Cambodia’s debt to the U.S. was contracted on concessional terms, at below-market interest rates, the Paris Club agreement called on the U.S. to consolidate arrears and future payments scheduled between January 1, 1995 and June 30, 1997 into a new loan payable over 40 years following a 16-year grace period. Debt service falling due on or after July 1, 1997 was to be paid according to the original schedule. Cambodia eventually signed debt agreements with France, Germany, Italy, and Japan to implement the 1995 Paris Club debt treatment, and began paying those countries normally. The United States and Cambodia never concluded a bilateral implementing agreement, in part because the Cambodian government refused to accept responsibility for debts incurred by the Lon Nol regime and, in part, because of a disagreement at the time over the amount of debt owed.

After several years of deadlock, negotiations resumed over the 2001-2005 period, with the active involvement of the State Department, the U.S. Treasury Department, USDA, and U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh. After carefully examining the available legal authorities, the U.S. negotiating team's offer to the Cambodian government showed significant flexibility on the amount of debt owed. In December 2005, the Treasury Department affirmed that, for legal and policy reasons, this was the final, best offer the U.S. could make.
In February 2006, the Cambodian Finance Minister indicated that Cambodia agreed with the U.S., in principle, with the amount of principal it owed. Based on this understanding, the United States drafted a bilateral agreement that retroactively implemented the 1995 Paris Club agreement, including USDA’s concessions, and presented it to the Cambodian government in the summer of 2006. If the agreement is implemented in 2008, Cambodia’s total debt to the U.S. totals approximately $339 million using data calculated as of December 31, 2007. About $154 million of that amount, arrears that have accumulated because regular debt service payments were to have resumed in 1997, would be due immediately. The United States has repeatedly communicated to Cambodia that, should Cambodia agree to the proposed bilateral agreement, the U.S. stands ready to support a new debt treatment in the Paris Club to reschedule these arrears.
To date, the Cambodian government has been unwilling to sign the draft bilateral agreement and now seeks additional concessions, such as a lower interest rate. Longstanding
U.S. debt policy, in keeping with Paris Club principles and U.S. budget rules, is to retain the same interest rate of the original loans in any rescheduling of those loans. The proposed U.S.-Cambodia bilateral debt agreement would reschedule the consolidated P.L. 480 debt at the original interest rate of 3 percent – a highly-concessional interest rate given the interest rate environment of the early 1970s. Offering a lower interest rate would be an unauthorized form of debt reduction. Cambodian officials have also indicated that domestic political obstacles still make the government reluctant to accept responsibility for debts incurred by the Lon Nol regime. Although Cambodian observers may consider this debt illegitimate, the U.S. has on its side the international law principle that governments are generally responsible for the obligations of their predecessors. The government of Iraq accepted the debts incurred by Saddam Hussein. The civilian government of Nigeria accepted responsibility for debts accumulated by military governments that ruled the country in the 1980s and 1990s. Similarly, Afghanistan accepted the heavy debt burden left by decades of foreign occupation and civil war. There are many other examples.
Senior U.S. government officials have repeatedly encouraged Cambodia to live up to the 1995 Paris Club agreement it signed with the United States and other creditors, and urged it to sign the pending U.S.-Cambodia bilateral agreement without further delay. However, Cambodia may be reluctant to accept the current proposal to settle the bilateral debt issue if it believes there are good prospects of converting a significant amount of the debt service it would otherwise pay to the United States into a form of increased U.S. assistance.
We understand Cambodia has expressed an interest in a debt-swap program similar to debt-for-assistance measures that were enacted for Vietnam in 2000. Observers often compare Vietnam and Cambodia for geographic and historical reasons, but several distinctions about the treatment of the debts these countries contracted with the United States are worth highlighting. In 1993, Paris Club creditors provided Vietnam a debt rescheduling on terms similar to Cambodia’s 1995 Paris Club debt agreement. Vietnam signed a bilateral implementing agreement with the U.S. in 1997, resumed making scheduled payments, and was in good financial standing when Congress created the Vietnam Education Foundation, which will refund to the Foundation’s programs about 40 percent of Vietnam’s total debt payments to USAID and USDA. The same cannot be said of our current situation with regard to Cambodia debt.
The Administration’s position is that Cambodia’s economic and financial situation does not merit debt reduction, because the country is neither heavily indebted nor experiencing an external balance of payments crisis. The Administration is concerned that creating a special debt reduction program for a country that is unwilling, rather than unable, to pay its debts, sets a poor precedent for other counties in similar circumstances and sends the wrong message about prudent debt management. Cambodia has accumulated arrears to the U.S., while paying other creditors on time, and in at least one case, early. Every year, both within and outside of the Paris Club context, the U.S Government reviews and declines similar requests for debt-for-assistance swap arrangements from debtor countries that are both current on their debt service and may owe billions of dollars of debt.
Congress has also expressed its view on the importance of maintaining orderly creditor-debtor relations in a number of statutes, including Section 620(q) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and the Brooke Amendment (enacted this year as Section 612 of the Department of State, Foreign Operations and related Programs Appropriations Act, Division J of P.L. No. 110-161). These statutes provide for an automatic cutoff of U.S. economic assistance to a country that is in default on certain loans for certain periods of time. Although Cambodia’s USDA debts are not subject to these default sanctions, these statutes reflect Congress's expectation that countries repay their debts to the United States in a timely manner.
Another concern about funding foreign assistance programs through the principal and interest payments of debtor counties is that it circumvents normal budget rules. Congress passed the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990 requiring U.S. creditor agencies to make realistic estimates about recoveries when calculating the true cost of lending programs. This approach saves U.S. taxpayers money by creating transparent incentives for agencies to manage credit programs efficiently and effectively. Accordingly, the Administration requests and Congress annually appropriates, funds to be used to pay the U.S. budget cost of cancelling a country’s debt obligation or providing a debt swap. The Cambodian proposal circumvents this congressional budget oversight mechanism.
In sum, Cambodia’s prompt agreement to resolve U.S. debt claims would eliminate this long-standing dispute in a scenario of otherwise improving bilateral relations; it would also enhance Cambodia’s creditworthiness and Cambodia’s ability to access international capital markets. Other countries following this path have benefited enormously.

Mr. Chairman, I appreciate this opportunity to appear before you and welcome any questions you may have. Thank you.
Appendix 1
($ in thousands)
FY 2007
Child Survival and Health
Development Assistance
Economic Support Fund
Foreign Military Financing
Global HIV/AIDS Initiative
International Military Education and Training
Nonproliferation, Antiterrorism, Demining and Related Programs

Released on February 14, 2008

Experts See Plea in Words of Nuon Chea

By Mean Veasna, VOA Khmer Phnom Penh13 February 2008

In his words during a bail hearing last week, jailed Khmer Rouge ideologue Nuon Chea may have embedded a plea for intervention from the government, tribunal observers said recently.

During statements at his hearing, Nuon Chea praised the government and the leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen, but the tribunal is beyond the reach of such intervention, the observers and tribunal officials told VOA Khmer.
“Intervention from foreign countries is still blocking the development of Cambodia to a certain extent,” Nuon Chea said to a panel of pre-trial judges during his hearing.
“The rectangular and win-win strategies of the Cambodian government led by Samdech Akkiak Moha Sena Dechchor Hun Sen will win over all these obstacles,” he said, including several honorifics before the prime minister’s name.
Such statements are attempts to use the tribunal as a “mail box” to pass messages to top officials like Hun Sen, said Hisham Mousar, a tribunal monitor for the rights group Adhoc. “The tribunal is composed of different elements, and its weaknesses are well understood by the Khmer.”
Cambodia’s national courts are roundly criticized for politicization and intervention, but observers said the tribunal was not the same.
“Nuon Chea still thinks Hun Sen is a king, and if [Hun Sen] was able to arrest him and put him in jail, he should be able to release him as well,” said Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia.

US: Pace of Change in Cambodia Is Disappointing

Rice says US disappointed by the pace of change in Cambodia

© AP
2008-02-14 04:35:25
WASHINGTON (AP) - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the United States is disappointed about the pace of change in Cambodia.
Rice told lawmakers Wednesday that the U.S. wants to see more progress in that country.Some 1.7 million Cambodians died under the communist Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s.Cambodia's U.N.-backed genocide tribunal has five former leaders of the Khmer Rouge in custody awaiting trial.
Corruption in Cambodia is a way of life. Most civil servants earn only about $25 (¤17) a month.

Cambodia Tribunal: Up to 8 Defendants; New Budget's Fate Uncertain

The Associated Press
Thursday, February 14, 2008

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodia's genocide tribunal expects to try up to eight suspects over the Khmer Rouge's brutal rule, while seeking to nearly double its staffing levels to 530, according to a tribunal planning document.
The cap on the number of prosecutions was noted in a document that outlines the tribunal's proposal to increase its budget to $170 million — a sharp increase from the original $56.3 million.
The document with the revised budget estimate — presented to donor nations in New York last month — was obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.
The tribunal, which opened its offices in early 2006 after years of wrangling between the Cambodian government and the U.N., took five suspects into custody last year and hopes to begin their trials later this year.
Starvation, overwork, lack of medical care and execution led to the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people during the 1975-79 communist Khmer Rouge regime.
The budget document says more money is needed to expand services and personnel to allow the tribunal to operate through March 2011, instead of December 2009 as had been anticipated earlier.
"This extension is based on a more realistic expectation of the work of the court, with a maximum number of eight detainees," it said. The document did not explain how the number had been arrived at, or who the additional suspects might be.
The five senior Khmer Rouge leaders under detention — including the group's former head of state, Khieu Samphan, and its foreign minister, Ieng Sary — are charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity.
There are fears that the aging and infirm defendants could die before facing justice. The group's leader, Pol Pot, died in 1998.
Officials authorized to speak for the tribunal could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
The tribunal has been dogged by allegations of corruption and delays. Donors have pressed it for reforms and more transparency in its conduct.
"The tribunal will have to explain clearly what kind of reforms they are undertaking with regards to administration and why they have chosen a budget like this," said Tom Barthel Hansen, a Danish Embassy official, whose country contributed about $500,000 to the original budget.
He said it was not yet clear how his government would respond to the new request.
Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Former Khmer Rouge chief on ‘silence strike’


Wednesday 13 February 2008

Khieu Samphan, former Cambodian president during the Khmer Rouge era, will abstain from speaking at his trial to protest against irregularities, reports FRANCE 24’s Cambodia correspondent Cyril Payen.

Wednesday 13 February 2008
By FRANCE 24 with news wire services

Khieu Samphan, former Cambodian president during the country’s dark Khmer Rouge years, who is scheduled to go before a judge for preliminary questioning Thursday, made it known through his lawyer that he will be going on a “silence strike,” or “grève de la parole” as it’s called in French.Specifically, he will refuse to answer questions put to him by the international tribunal established to judge the genocide perpetrated in Cambodia during the 1970s.“This is bad news for a trial that comes 30 years after the facts,” said Cyrile Payen, FRANCE 24 correspondent in Phnom Penh.The former president cited procedural reasons related to administrative delays at the tribunal. “Not all the documents relating to the charges have been translated into the desired languages (Cambodian and French) and Khieu Samphan’s legal team claims it cannot continue in this manner,” said Payen.Samphan’s French lawyer Jacques Verges announced that he would be leaving Cambodia on Thursday. With a principal defendant refusing to participate and a defense lawyer leaving the proceedings, the UN-sanctioned trial is facing new difficulties after already suffering numerous delays.Two million dead Some two million people died under the Khmer Rouge regime, which, in the name of an ideology inspired by Maoism and tinged with nationalism, sowed the seeds of terror between 1975 and 1979 in Cambodia. It purged cities to benefit the rural areas, imposed forced labor and systematically eliminated all opponents.Khieu Samphan, along with Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary and Kaing Guek Eav, also known as "Duch", are all currently in jail, awaiting judgment for crimes committed during this period.Most of the suspects are senior citizens, and tribunal officials fear they will die in prison while awaiting trial—the date for which has not yet been set.The tribunal, expected to focus mainly on the Cambodian genocide, was set up with much difficulty in July 2006 in Phnom Penh after a decade of negotiations between the Cambodian government and the UN. Granted an initial budget of more than 56 million dollars for a three year period, the court is beginning to face financial difficulties and recently gave notice that it needed an additional 114 million dollars to function until 2011.
Copyright © 2008 FRANCE 24. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Khmer Rouge: A Lesser Known Fact

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Duch's New Old Interview with the Independent

by Stan Starygin
The interview published yesterday by the British publication the Independent turned out to be less recent then many might have assumed by the date of its publication and its text. It is true that nothing in the text suggests that said interview was held recently, however, nothing suggests to the contrary either. It is a well-entrenched assumption, though, that periodicals publish reasonably recent news and not something that happened some 3/4 of a year ago.
It is rare that news agencies let the news acquire a vintage status, however, when in those rare occasions when it is done, it is done for a good reason. What reason the Independent had that caused it to sit on this interview for about 3/4 of a year remains a mistery. It seems that it would have made far more sense to have this interview released when the interviewee was in the spotlight which in the last year has happened at least three times -- the instance of his transfer to ECCC custody (the ECCC likes calling it 'arrest' but that would presume that Kaing Guek Iev was at liberty prior to being taken into ECCC custody), his hearing, and the PTC's decision regarding his co-lawyers' motion for release. Anyone of these instances would have greatly amplified the content of the article in point. The Independent, however, chose to throw us all off the track and have it published when whatever the flurry there was around Duch's case had come to a screeching halt.
It is even more curious exactly how the Indepedent managed to gain access to Duch when some many who had tried prior had been thrown red tape at. Why, all of a sudden, did the Cambodian goverment who had been guarding Duch as a prized trophy for 8 years relent and give this particular media representative access to him and why did it have to be done so clandestinely?
If the two curious facts above are analyzed together, they create a spate of issues that are far from clear or being matters of standard operating procedure of news agencies.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Duch Interviewed by Reporter Again; Same Story (as 1999) with Different Names

'They all had to be eliminated'
Kang Khek Ieu was known as 'Cambodia's Himmler', a torturer who oversaw the deaths of 17,000 people. As he prepares to go on trial, he gives a chilling insight into the Khmer Rouge – the most detailed account yet from a top henchman
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Exclusive by Valerio Pellizzari, Phnom PenhMonday, 11 February 2008
He was Pol Pot's trusted henchman, the brilliant mathematician who calmly fashioned an efficient apparatus of torture and death out of a Phnom Penh high school and who oversaw, during the Khmer Rouge's reign of terror, the interrogation and cudgelling to death of some 17,000 Cambodians.
In the West he has been called "Cambodia's Heinrich Himmler"; since Pol Pot himself and his lieutenant Ta Mok cheated justice by dying, he is the most vivid symbol of the Khmer Rouge left alive. His name is Kang Khek Ieu, but he is better known by his nom de guerre, Duch (pronounced "Doik"). This spring, 28 years after fleeing Cambodia ahead of the Vietnamese army, his trial for mass murder may finally get under way.
Now, in the first interview he has given since his capture more than eight-and-a-half years ago, he talks freely about how and why he sent 17,000 Cambodians to their deaths in the killing fields.
And even as he waits to confront the proof of his crimes, it is clear that, for him, there was never any choice: anybody who was thought to pose a threat to the revolution had to be tortured and killed. Asked whether he had any moments of uncertainty, any doubts or feelings of rebellion while he set about wiping out his country's entire intellectual class, he answered: "There was a widespread and tacit understanding.
"I and everyone else who worked in that place knew that anyone who entered had to be psychologically demolished, eliminated by steady work, given no way out. No answer could avoid death. Nobody who came to us had any chance of saving himself."
The command had come from above, he said. "All the prisoners had to be eliminated. We saw enemies, enemies, enemies everywhere." He could not have rebelled or fled, he insisted. "If I had tried to flee, they were holding my family hostage, and my family would have suffered the same fate as the other prisoners in Tuol Sleng. If I had fled or rebelled it would not have helped anyone."
Between 1975 and the beginning of 1979, under Pol Pot, two million men and women, almost a third of the Cambodian population, were brutally eliminated by the Khmer Rouge – an extreme Marxist movement that aimed to take Cambodia back to "Year Zero", cutting it off from the outside world and imposing their leaders' vision of an "agrarian utopia".
Of its two million victims, more than 17,000 – party officials, diplomats, Buddhist monks, engineers, doctors, teachers, students, musicians and dancers, were brought to a former school in the heart of Phnom Penh that had been converted into a torture centre. Only six came out of it alive.
Codenamed S-21, the centre was run by Duch, a former maths teacher who had become the head of the regime's secret police. In the former classrooms, over a period of 40 months, Duch oversaw the extermination of the entire Cambodian intellectual class with mathematical rigour.
Confessions were extracted by primitive torture: prisoners were strapped to iron beds, suspended upside down from ropes, threatened with drowning, tormented with knives and pincers, locked in tiny cells. Then, at night, they were taken by lorry to the outskirts of Phnom Penh and killed in the rice fields. The Khmer Rouge were obsessed with killing by night.
Now at last, after years of argument between the Cambodian government and the United Nations, the surviving members of the Khmer Rouge hierarchy are finally being brought to justice. They will be tried under a hybrid UN-Cambodian tribunal known as the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia; the pre-trial hearings began in November and are still going on. Pol Pot, of course, is long dead, having died under house arrest before he could be tried in 1998. The bloodiest of his comrades, Ta Mok, died in 1996. But five senior leaders including Khieu Sampan, the Khmer Rouge president, await trial.
Duch made his first appearance in court in November when his lawyer asked for him to be let out on bail because his "human rights had been violated, even if he was not beaten or tortured". A ripple of ironic laughter ran round the courtroom. The request was rejected.
My quest to interview Duch had begun nearly three years ago. I first visited S-21, soon after the fall of the Khmer Rouge. Since his arrest more than eight years ago, nobody from the outside had even clapped eyes on him. Now, finally, I was looking at this frail, 66-year-old man with his protruding, irregular teeth, bug eyes and washed-out grey clothes. I was confronting the mystery of the banality and the innocence of evil.
Throughout our interview, his voice was low, respectful like a mantra, a Buddhist prayer, rather than what it really was; the soundtrack of a nightmare still freighted with questions. His mild-mannered almost frail appearance in no way suggested the role of a mass murderer.
For the interview, the rules were strict: no tape recorder, no camera, no talking to him directly in French or English but only through a Cambodian interpreter. General Neang Phat, Cambodia's Secretary of State, and other generals were sitting in the same room, listening to and scrutinising this indefinable and unfathomable man. Some of them, too, have evil memories of the Khmer Rouge years. But Duch was the exact picture of the banality and innocence of evil.
Duch, the nickname he assumed when he was young and joined the guerrillas, told me that the torture centre at Tuol Sleng was set up in August 1975, four months after the Khmer Rouge entered Phnom Penh, and began work two months later.
"I was given the task of creating it and starting it up, although I never found out why they chose me. Before 1975, when the Khmer Rouge lived in hiding, in the jungle, or in the liberated zones, I was the head of Office 13, I was the chief of police in the special zone bordering on Phnom Penh."
He described a routine of bureaucratic monotony. "Every day I had to read and check the confessions. I read from seven in the morning until midnight. And every day, towards three in the afternoon, Professor Son Sen, the minister of defence, summoned me. I had known him since my time as a high school teacher. It was he who had asked me to join the guerrillas.
"He would ask me how my work was going. Then a messenger would arrive, an envoy, who collected the confessions that were ready and took them to Son Sen. These messengers were the only links between one office and another."
I wanted to know if Duch had any moments of uncertainty, doubts, feelings of rebellion while he was wiping out his country's entire intellectual class.
He admitted the idea had crossed his mind. "When the work started at Tuol Sleng, I asked my bosses now and then, 'Do we really have to use all this violence?' Son Sen never answered. Nuon Chea, the No 2 Brother in the power structure, who was above him, told me: 'Don't think about these things.'
"I personally had no answer. Then with the passing of time, I understood. It was Ta Mok who had ordered all the prisoners to be eliminated. We saw enemies, enemies, enemies everywhere.
"I was cornered, like everyone in that machine, I had no alternative. Pol Pot, the No 1 Brother, said you always had to be suspicious, to fear something. And thus the usual request came: interrogate them again, interrogate them better."
Sometimes Duch was tempted to be merciful, he claimed – and his superiors began to mistrust him. He recalled the time a cousin was brought to S-21.
"I knew him well, we had formed sincere family ties but I had to eliminate him anyway. I knew he was a good person but I had to pretend to believe that confession extorted with violence. So in order to protect him I didn't analyse those statements too rigorously. And on that occasion my superiors began to lose full trust in me. At the same time I didn't feel safe any more."
But the moment of official doubt passed. The interrogations and executions continued, remorselessly until the end.
"You kept your post until the end," I said. "Did you always carry out your orders thoroughly?"
Duch answered: "I obeyed. The work carried on until 7 January 1979, when the Cambodian liberation forces, supported by the Vietnamese, conquered Phnom Penh. There was no escape plan, no pull-out plan ..."
But, after the fall of the Khmer Rouge, the executioner blended back in among his countrymen, and disappeared, as so many did in the post-war chaos, swallowed up by the void.
Many years later he was converted to Christianity by American missionaries. His true identity was discovered in 1998 and soon afterwards he was arrested. He remains the most disquieting witness of the political madness planned by the Khmer Rouge, after the death of Pol Pot and Ta Mok, the one-legged "butcher".
I asked him how he converted to Christianity and why that happened. "I became convinced that Christians were a force, and that this force could beat Communism. At the time of the guerrilla war, I was 25 years old, Cambodia was corrupt, Communism was full of promise and I believed in it. But that project failed completely."
So if Duch has repented now, what is his attitude to all those thousands of victims of his violence? There was no alternative for people like himself, trapped inside the machinery of the Khmer Rouge, he said.
"If someone goes looking for guilt, and the various degrees of guilt, I say that there was no way out for anyone who entered the power system conceived by Pol Pot. Only at the top did they know the real situation in the country, but the intermediate functionaries did not know. And then there was that obsession with secrecy.
"Of course, you are asking me whether I could have rebelled, or at least fled. But if I had tried to flee, they were holding my family hostage, and my family would have suffered the same fate as the other prisoners in Tuol Sleng. If I had fled or rebelled it would not have helped anyone."

Friday, February 8, 2008

Khmer Rouge trial taps donors for another $114 mln

February 7, 2008

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Cambodia's U.N.-backed "Killing Fields" court has trebled its initial budget, seeking an extra $114 million from international donors to continue its pursuit of Pol Pot's top surviving henchmen, a spokesman said on Thursday.

Under the new proposal, the long-awaited tribunal's three-year lifespan would grow by two years, dragging out proceedings until 2011 even though most of the Khmer Rouge's leading cadres are old and in poor health.

Given the problems with finding the court's initial $56 million, the request for such a large sum is unlikely to go down well with donors who already pump $600 million a year into Cambodia's war-scarred but now booming economy.

"We have no choice but to expand," court spokesman Peter Foster told Reuters shortly after the start of a bail hearing for "Brother Number Two" Nuon Chea, charged last year with war crimes and crimes against humanity.

"I would not call it a delay, but I would call it a more realistic plan," he said.

An estimated 1.7 million people were executed or died of torture, disease or starvation under Pol Pot's 1975-79 reign of terror as his dream of creating an agrarian peasant utopia descended into the nightmare of the "Killing Fields."

After nearly a decade of delays and drawn-out talks with the United Nations, the trial kicked off in earnest last year with charges against Nuon Chea and four other senior cadres.


However, it has long been clear the court was short of cash.

One Phnom Penh-based diplomat said the request for more money had been in the pipeline, but its size was a surprise.

"The original budget was too low and a lot of key elements had not been costed properly, but this is certainly a pretty hefty rise," the diplomat said.

Foster said he hoped countries such as Japan, which has bankrolled much of the proceedings so far, would dig deep to ensure the court achieved the aim of prosecuting "those most responsible" for the atrocities without compromising standards.

Tokyo hopes the trials will expose the full extent of the links between Pol Pot's murderous regime and China, analysts say.

The expanded budget would be mainly for more court staff, and translation and transcription as well as victim and witness support, Foster said. It also suggests prosecutors might widen their net well beyond the five already in custody.
At his bail hearing, the octogenarian Nuon Chea argued he was not a flight risk and would not try to influence potential witnesses. Fears for his safety were also overblown, he said.

"I have no desire to leave my beloved country," he told a courtroom packed with reporters.

He sat impassively as prosecutor Chea Leang outlined her case, arguing that as de facto prime minister and head of the ultra-Maoist regime's standing committee from 1976, Nuon Chea was responsible for policies of forced labor, torture and execution.

The court is not expected to announce its decision for several days, but he is extremely unlikely to be released.

Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot died in 1998 in the final Khmer Rouge redoubt of Anlong Veng on the Thai border.

Besides Nuon Chea, top cadres now in custody are former president Khieu Samphan, former foreign minister Ieng Sary and his wife, Ieng Thirith, and Duch, head of Phnom Penh's Tuol Sleng, or "S-21" interrogation and torture centre.

(Reporting by Ek Madra; Writing by Ed Cropley; Editing by Michael Battye and David Fogarty)

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Khmer Rouge victims address court

BBC News
Last Updated: Friday, 8 February 2008, 05:52 GMT

Survivors of Cambodia's brutal Khmer Rouge regime have addressed a UN-backed genocide court for the first time.

The survivors spoke at a bail hearing for top Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea, who has been charged with crimes against humanity.
Victims had been waiting 30 years for justice, one woman said, urging the court not to grant bail to Pol Pot's former deputy.
Nuon Chea is one of five senior Khmer Rouge officials awaiting trial.
More than one million people are thought to have died during the regime's 1975-1979 rule.
Tens of thousands of people were executed while others starved to death or died of overwork as the Maoist regime sought to create an agrarian utopia.
'No rights'
Theary Seng was one of four survivors named as "civil parties" in the case.
She lost her parents under the Khmer Rouge and described to the court how she was jailed at the age of seven, along with her younger brother.
"We were not informed of our rights. There was no due process and we were arrested arbitrarily," she said.
"They treated us inhumanely - for us, the graveyard was our playground."
She urged against bail for Nuon Chea, the regime's ideological driving force who is now in his eighties.
"There is a risk that the accused will fail to appear in court and without his presence we will suffer a great loss," she said.
The court is expected to rule on bail in the next few days. A similar request by Duch, head of the notorious Tuol Sleng prison where thousands died, has been turned down.
Nuon Chea had objected to the presence of the civil parties.
But, says the BBC's Guy Delauney in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, their numbers are likely to increase as the victims unit at the Khmer Rouge tribunal processes more applications.
The challenge will be keeping numbers to a manageable level - while making sure victims are properly represented, our correspondent says.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

ECCC: 500 Complaints Received and Analyzed

ECCC Press Release

The ECCC Is Processing Hundreds of Complaints from Khmer Rouge Victims

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) is processing and beginning to respond to hundreds of complaints that have been submitted by Cambodians about crimes that occurred during the period of Democratic Kampuchea. The complaints have been received and analyzed, and the ECCC is in the process of notifying victims about the status of their complaints.

More Than 500 Hundred Complaints Have Been Received and Analyzed. The Complainants Will Receive Official Acknowledgment Soon

Although the Court has been operational since July 2006, the ECCC has received most of the 500 plus complaints since October 2007. These complaints have largely come from individuals who have been made aware of the right to be involved in the Court process through the outreach of civil society organizations, which have played an important role in ensuring victim participation. The victim complaints have all been scanned, processed and analyzed. Properly completed complaint forms are being forwarded to the appropriate offices within the ECCC for further action.

The Co-Investigating Judges will receive those complaints that provide information that relates to their current investigation and those complaints that request participation in the proceedings as a civil party. The Co-Prosecutors receive those complaints that do not relate to the current judicial investigation so that they can determine whether to open a new investigation. Where complaints do not contain enough information for the Court to act, for example where the complaint does not describe clearly when, where and what crimes are alleged to have occurred, the Court will contact these people for further information. Of the over 500 complaints received, currently about a fifth are missing key information.

Having analyzed these complaints the Court is now in the process of advising each and every complainant about the status of their complaint and how the Court intends to use it in the ECCC process. “Information received from victims is crucial to our success,” says Robert Petit, one of the ECCC’s Co-Prosecutors. “The Court is lucky that so many people have come forward and submitted complaints, because it gives us a lot of information to work with. It is important to realize, however, that it takes time to analyze each complaint and see how it relates to our investigations.”

The Victims Unit is Facilitating the Participation of Victims

The Victims Unit, which began operation in January 2008, is the first point of contact between victims and the Court. While some staff have already been hired, the Unit is expected to be fully operational in the next 3 weeks, when the Head of the Victims Unit will begin work. The Unit will assist victims and those helping them to file complaints and civil party applications. It will also help them to locate lawyers, organize the collective representation of groups of victims, and facilitate their participation in the proceedings. The Unit is also consulting with civil society organizations and is currently developing materials designed to explain these processes in a clear manner, including clarifying the difference between complainants and Civil Parties.

“The response from victims so far has been very encouraging,” said Gabriela Gonzalez Rivas, the Deputy Head of the Victims Unit. “The ECCC is the first court in the history of international criminal law to offer victims full participation in the proceedings, and everyone at the Court is working hard to ensure that this participation is meaningful for them. The Court will acknowledge the receipt of each and every complaint as soon as possible, but we also need to make sure that each one is given the careful, individual attention it deserves.”


Reach Sambath

Noun Chea Seeks Bail

Khmer Rouge leader seeks bail

The most senior surviving leader of the Khmer Rouge, has returned to court to resume his appeal hearing before a United Nations-backed tribunal in Cambodia.

Nuon Chea's pre-trial hearing on Thursday marked the continuation of an appeal against his continued detention and a request for release on bail pending trial.

Prosecutors have said the so-called "Brother Number Two" of the Khmer Rouge could try to flee the country, interfere with witnesses, or may be at risk of attack if he is released.

But on Thursday Nuon Chea told the court that fears for his safety were exaggerated because he had been living in "peace and harmony" at his home in Pailin near the Thai border.

"I have no desire to leave my beloved country," he told the court in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh. "No one is worried about my security."

Earlier this week the tribunal's pre-trial chamber adjourned a bail hearing after Nuon Chea demanded an "international standard" of justice, and asked to be represented by a foreign lawyer in addition to a Cambodian one.

His Dutch lawyer, Michiel Pestman, failed to turn up in court on Monday and his replacement, Victor Koppe, was barred for not having proper accreditation.

The tribunal decided to resume the hearing after Koppe was formally sworn in by the Cambodian Bar Association, and was able to present his client's appeal on Thursday.

Nuon Chea, 81, is charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity including "murder, torture, imprisonment, persecution, extermination, deportation, forcible transfer, enslavement and other inhumane acts".

Nuon Chea, who was arrested last September, is one of five former Khmer Rouge leaders awaiting trial before the "Killing Fields" tribunal, expected to start later this year.

The former deputy to Pol Pot, the notorious leader of the Khmer Rouge who died in 1998, has denied guilt saying he was not a "cruel" man, but "a patriot".

He has also argued that the tribunal's investigating judges did not have sufficient grounds to detain him.

Nuon Chea is accused of being the architect of the Khmer Rouge's killing machine, playing a leading role in the deaths of some 1.7 million people during the group's 1975-79 rule.

During that period, the Khmer Rouge emptied Cambodia's cities, exiling millions to rural areas in a bid to forge an agrarian utopia, outlawing schools, religion and currency.

Nuon Chea surrendered to the Cambodian government in 1998 after the final remnants of the Khmer Rouge collapsed in 1998 and he was given a formal pardon.

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