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.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sihanoukism 'perfect contrast' to KR: King Father

By Neth Pheaktra
The Mekong Times
Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Former King Norodom Si­hanouk has
claimed that, in "per­fect contrast" to the policies of the Khmer Rouge (KR), under his reign Cambodia was a picture of agrarian sta­bility.

"For me it is not a question of egotism, but I never abandoned Sihanoukism for 'Khieu Samphanism, Ieng Saryism, or Pol Potism," he said referring to his own Sangkum Reastr
Niyum (1955-1970) reign and the doctrine of former KR leaders.

In a statement posted on his website Apr 19, the King Father said the KR had led the nation into slavery and subsequent "colonization" by Vietnam. In the 1950s and 1960s intellectu­als were happy to "run to the hills" and join the KR, as they found the "spartan" lifestyle of KR leaders such as Khieu Samphan honor­able, he added.

Although he admit­ted that he lived as an aristocrat, Sihanouk said rural people had "farmland, houses, an­imals, chickens, ducks and ox-carts" during his reign. However, un­der the KR, "Cambodi­ans used to living with freedom and ownership were turned into slaves who had to give all of their properties to Ang­kor
[Khmer Rouge]."

"Prior to the Pol Pot, Ieng Sary and Kh­ieu Samphan era, we drove vehicles and motorbikes and rode bicycles," recalled the former leader. "Under their rule, the people worked like buffalos pulling and dragging ploughs in rice fields."

He also said it was the KR attempt to "re­
conquer" Khmer Krom territories - now part of Vietnam - that led to the Vietnamese invasion in 1979 and ten years of Vietnamese oc­cupation.

"Without the joint ef­forts between Norodom Sihanouk and [Prime Minister] Hun Sen, Vietnam would not have provided Cambo­dia with independence and sovereignty in 1989," he added.

He ended his let­ter in bitter sarcasm: "Long live Khieu Sam­phan! Long live Ieng Sary! Long live Khieu Thirith!"

Former King Sihanouk was kept under house arrest by the KR during their 1975-1979 reign. In a further statement made on his website Apr 27 he said the KR executed five of his children and 14 of his grandchildren.

"The [Republican] Lon Nol supporters, who were [then] refugees in the West, told me that the KR fed some of my grandchildren's bodies to crocodiles, while my other grandchildren had their heads smashed against tree trunks,” he said.

Extracted from The Mekong Times
Issue No. 56
Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Civil Society's Recommendations to the PTC

Recommendations Regarding Additional Transparency at the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC)
Submitted by members of Civil Society and
Members of the Cambodian Press
March 24, 2008
Information regarding Pre-Trial Chamber proceedings. The Internal Rules of the ECCC provide that appeals and proceedings before the Pre-Trial Chamber are confidential unless the court makes an affirmative decision to open a proceeding to the public (Internal Rules, Rule 77 (6)). We request that the court consider the following steps to increase information available to the public about the work of this chamber:
Amend the Internal Rules to provide that hearings of the Pre-Trial Chamber and pleadings filed in connection with such proceedings are public absent a finding that confidentiality is necessary to meet a legitimate right of a party and then provide confidentiality only to the extent necessary to protect that right.
If the Internal Rules are not amended as suggested, provide the public with access to proceedings whenever and to the extent it does not interfere with a specific interest in confidentiality. To the extent proceedings are held in secrete, provide a brief explanation of the reason.
Provide clear guidelines in amended practice directives for publication of pleadings filed in connection with proceeding of the Pre-Trial Chamber which ensure that pleadings are kept confidential or redacted only to the extent necessary to protect a legitimate confidentiality need.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Piecemeal Funding?

Out of an overwhelming additional amount of $114 million, so far, Australia has offered to pay less than $500,000 and now France has pledged $1 million. Where's this going? Has the donor community committed to years of piecemeal funding, or will pledges come pouring in now that the new comments of UNDP Cambodia and the EC Delegation to Cambodia on the newly found soundness of ECCC management have been published? The question still remains, will the general public, that is paying for the process, ever see the ECCC budgets, the new and old ones?

Khmer Rouge trial will be bankrupt by September, officials say

Khmer Rouge trial will be bankrupt by September, officials say
Apr 25, 2008, 12:57 GMT

Phnom Penh - The tribunal set up to try surviving leaders of Cambodia's disastrous Khmer Rouge reign will be bankrupt by September without a new cash injection, officials said Friday.
Up to 2 million Cambodians perished under the 1975-79 regime and victims have waited nearly 30 years for justice up to an international standard, but although five former leaders have been arrested by the court, hearings are yet to commence.

Originally budgeted at 56 million dollars, UN and Cambodian representatives of the joint UN-Cambodia tribunal told a press conference Friday that it needed at least 117 million dollars more to continue past September.
'We hope and believe the international community will help,' government tribunal coordinator Sean Visoth said at a Friday press conference.
It was unclear what would happen to the elderly defendants currently in jail awaiting trial if the money does not appear, but they also face civil cases over their alleged crimes.
Due a post-war baby boom, most Cambodians were born after the Khmer Rouge era and allegations of graft, corruption and money problems within the court have shaken local confidence in the legal proceedings.
Due to Cold War politics, the United Nations recognized many of the five currently detained as legitimate leaders of the country until the end of the 1980s rather than the Vietnamese-backed government which overthrew them, further undermining local confidence in the process in some quarters.

France pledges extra US$1 mil. to Cambodian genocide court

The China Post

Saturday, April 26, 2008

PHNOM PENH -- France will donate another million dollars to Cambodia's cash-strapped genocide tribunal, helping ease fears that money troubles could further delay proceedings, French Human Rights Minister Rama Yade said Friday.
Yade visited the U.N.-backed tribunal and met with officials on Thursday to be updated on its progress and reaffirm French support for the court set up to try former Khmer Rouge leaders for atrocities committed during their 1975-1979 rule.
"One of the priorities for French diplomatic action abroad is international justice" and the "fight against impunity," Yade told a press briefing at the French embassy here at the end of her three-day visit to Cambodia.
"Human rights should not just be words," she said.
After Japan, France is the second largest donor to the court which has charged five former Khmer Rouge leaders with crimes against humanity and war crimes. It contributed US$5 million to the first appeal for funding.
The court said Thursday it hoped the trial of former Khmer Rouge jailer Duch, whose real name is Kaing Guek Eav, "could commence at the beginning of the last quarter of 2008."
Originally budgeted at US$56.3 million over three years, the tribunal, which opened in 2006 after nearly a decade of wrangling between the U.N. and Cambodia, has significantly raised its cost estimates to US$170 million.
Up to two million people died of starvation and overwork, or were executed as the communist Khmer Rouge dismantled modern Cambodian society in a bid to forge an agrarian utopia during its 1975-1979 rule.
Five former regime leaders have been detained by the tribunal for their alleged role in one of the 20th century's worst atrocities, the trials expected to begin later this year.
Copyright © 1999 – 2008 The China Post.

Audit says management of Cambodian tribunal has improved after calls for reform

The International Herald Tribune
The Associated Press
Published: April 25, 2008

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia: Cambodia's Khmer Rouge genocide tribunal is making significant progress in improving management problems that led to accusations of corruption, donors said Friday after a new audit.
Allegations of kickbacks and malpractice have dogged Cambodian members of the tribunal. An earlier audit initiated by the U.N. found shortcomings in its management.
The long-delayed U.N.-assisted tribunal to judge former Khmer Rouge leaders has also been plagued by political wrangling and inadequate financing.
Trials are scheduled to start later this year for atrocities committed during the 1975-79 rule of the communist Khmer Rouge, who are blamed for the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people from starvation, disease, overwork and execution.
The tribunal has Cambodian and international staff who work jointly at every level, including prosecutors, defenders and judges.
A new audit scrutinizing the Cambodian side's operations shows reforms have been effective, two diplomats from the United Nations and the European Commission said.

"This special review has shown that we (now) have a system that can work," Rafael Dochao Moreno, charge d'affaires of the European Commission's mission to Cambodia, told reporters.
Jo Scheuer, country director for the U.N. Development Program, said the audit showed "significant improvements."
He said various audits since 2006 on management of the funds for the Cambodian side have shown "no questionable financial transactions, no misallocated resources and no incomplete or missing documentation in support of disbursements" of money.
He also added that previous auditors have found "no conclusive evidence" to support the allegations of kickbacks being paid by Cambodian personnel in exchange for their jobs.
Scheuer and Moreno are members of a committee made up of representatives of the nations and agencies funding the tribunal. It commissioned the independent review by a private Indian auditing firm to look into hiring and recruitment practices, salary scales, project assurance and a code of conduct for the tribunal's Cambodian staff.
The tribunal has been seeking additional funds for operations through March 2011. It told donor countries in January it would need US$170 million (€108 million), a sharp increase from the originally budgeted US$56.3 million (€36 million).
Rama Yade, the French minister of state for foreign affairs and human rights, told a news conference Friday that her government has pledged an additional US$1 million (€630,000) to the tribunal for this year.
Copyright © 2008 the International Herald Tribune. All rights reserved

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Does Jacques Verges Really Have a Choice at This Point?

Now that the PTC asked Khieu Samphan's international counsel, Jacques Verges, to extricate himself from further proceedings on the grounds of 'abuse of process' framed into the court's internal rules, what venues are open to Verges to appeal such 'request'? None, really. In case of perceived misconduct of a lawyer, ECCC Chambers can do one of the following: (1) give a warning and then impose sanctions against the derelict lawyer, or deny him/her audience with the relevant chamber and/or (2) the Chambers can file a complaint with the Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia (BAKC) which can take 'disciplinary action' in response to it, and which can be appealed to the PTC, which in this case, incidentally, would be the injured party/complainant. Where can Verges find recourse then? Well, there's of course the Office of Administration of the ECCC, the Cambodian government and the UN, but there are no established appeal/complaint structures open to ECCC defense lawyers within any of these institutions. The way the system is set up, therefore, limits Verges two options: either suck it up and apologize to the PTC (which he is unlikely to do) or pack his bags, go back to France and run a smear campaign against the PTC -- and the ECCC as a whole -- from there. There isn't much else left to do.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

PTC's Decision to Adjourn

See at

Friday, April 25, 2008

Khieu Samphan In Court

Genocide tribunal hears appeal for release of ex-Khmer Rouge leader
Genocide tribunal hears appeal for release of ex-Khmer Rouge leaderBy KER MUNTHIT - Associated Press Writer© AP
2008-04-23 08:00:24 -
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) - A former top Khmer Rouge leader went before Cambodia's genocide tribunal to seek his release from pre-trial detention, represented by a French lawyer known for defending Nazis, serial killers and Venezuelan terrorist Carlos the Jackal.One of the lawyers representing Khieu Samphan, 76, in his appeal is Jacques Verges, who
has earned notoriety with a client list that also has included Nazi Gestapo officer Klaus Barbie.The tribunal has charged Khieu Samphan with crimes against humanity and war crimes committed when the communist Khmer Rouge held power in 1975-79. Some 1.7 million people died from starvation, disease, overwork and execution as a result of the group's radical policies in trying to build a classless society.Khieu Samphan's defense lawyers say he held «no real power» as the Khmer Rouge's head of state and is not guilty of the crimes he is charged with, Judge Prak Kimsan told the court, reading from previously submitted arguments.Expressionless before the court, Khieu Samphan stood when asked to introduce himself and said he lived a life of poverty after the fall of the Khmer Rouge.«I didn't have any job, and after leaving the jungle, I depended on my wife who supported the whole family,» Khieu Samphan said, dressed in khakis and a green, long-sleeved shirt.Khieu Samphan has been detained by the tribunal since Nov. 19. He is one of five senior leaders in custody.The long-delayed tribunal is expected to hold its first trial later this year. Many fear the Khmer Rouge's aging, surviving leaders could die before being brought to justice.In its detention order, the tribunal's judges alleged that Khieu Samphan
«aided and abetted» his regime's policies that were «characterized by murder, extermination, imprisonment, persecution on political grounds and other inhumane acts such as forcible transfers of the population, enslavement and forced labor.But Khieu Samphan, in various public statements made before his arrest, blamed the late Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot for the group's policies, including decisions to purge many Khmer Rouge cadres suspected to be disloyal or spies.Verges, 83, has known Khieu Samphan since they were both active in left-wing student activities in Paris in the 1950s.
The flamboyant lawyer, who often uses his trials as a pulpit for expressing his radical viewpoints, is expected to use a more aggressive approach than other lawyers at the tribunal have so far employed.He also has represented former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and confessed serial killer Charles Sobhraj.The first hour of Wednesday's hearing was conducted in public, with proceedings broadcast to the media in adjacent rooms. It was then closed at the request of prosecutors, who objected to the possibility of Khieu Samphan's lawyers presenting arguments that related to evidence bearing on the charges against their client rather than the merits of his provisional detention. They did not elaborate.On Tuesday, Khieu Samphan's Cambodian lawyer, Say Bory, called the tribunal's decision to hold the closed hearing «regrettable» because his client «desired to speak for the public to hear him.

ECCC aiming to end investigation into ex-Khmer Rouge prison chief by July

Thursday, April 24, 2008

[JURIST] Officials from the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia
(ECCC) [official website; JURIST news archive] said Thursday that the court expects to complete an investigation into former Khmer Rouge prison chief Kaing Guek Eav [TrialWatch profile], also known as Duch, by July. In a statement [PDF text], the court said: bail [JURIST report] while preparations for his trial continue.

Indeed, the [Co-Investigating Judges] intend to notify the parties that they have finished their investigations in the first case file in early May 2008 (this is the formal notification under Rule 66(1) of the Internal Rules). Thereafter, the CIJ will work towards issuing a formal Closing Order relating to Duch in early July 2008 on whether and, if so on what charges, to send Duch forward for trial. However, the procedures between early May and final closure in July 2008 do not depend on the CIJ, but rather on the exercise by the parties of their procedural rights. The CIJ have therefore taken certain initiatives to ensure that all parties understand the projected proceedings and timetable, and work in the same direction to maintain the objective of closure in July 2008.

On that basis, it is hoped that any trial of Duch on charges raised in the Co-Prosecutors' Initial Submissions could commence at the beginning of the last quarter of 2008.
Duch, who was in charge of the notorious S-21 prison in Phnom Penh, is one of five top leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime [JURIST news archive; BBC backgrounder] currently in ECCC custody. So far no top Khmer Rouge officials have faced justice, although the ECCC said Thursday that Duch may become the first to go to trial later this year. AP has more.Duch was arrested in 1999 on genocide charges and was subsequently charged with
war crimes
by a military court in March and with crimes against humanity [JURIST reports] by the ECCC in July. Those charges were primarily brought to keep Duch in custody while the ECCC started operations. A panel of ECCC judges ruled late last year that Duch should not be granted bail [JURIST report] while preparations for his trial continue.

Bernard J. Hibbitts 2008.


Update on OCIJ activities for March 2008

The Co-Investigating Judges (CIJ) would like to provide regular updates of the progress of the investigations, in so far as is possible, to assist further understanding of their work and of the current status of proceedings before the ECCC. The following is an update therefore concerning March 2008.

1. Since the last press release of the CIJ, their work focused on the continuation of the judicial investigations in both case files (001/18-07-2007-ECCC-OCIJ and 002/19-09-2007-ECCC-OCIJ), but, in particular, on the first case file concerning S21 and the charged person Duch in order to facilitate early closure of that investigation.

Indeed, the CIJ intend to notify the parties that they have finished their investigations in the first case file in early May 2008 (this is the formal notification under Rule 66(1) of the Internal Rules). Thereafter, the CIJ will work towards issuing a formal Closing Order relating to Duch in early July 2008 on whether and, if so on what charges, to send Duch forward for trial. However, the procedures between early May and final closure in July 2008 do not depend on the CIJ, but rather on the exercise by the parties of their procedural rights. The CIJ have therefore taken certain initiatives to ensure that all parties understand the projected proceedings and timetable, and work in the same direction to maintain the objective of closure in July 2008.

On that basis, it is hoped that any trial of Duch on charges raised in the Co-Prosecutors’ Initial Submissions could commence at the beginning of the last quarter of 2008.

Accordingly, during March 2008, the CIJ identified the precise investigations which remained to be carried out in the first case file in advance of the Notification foreseen for early May 2008. OCIJ Investigators have been in the field finishing interviews and other investigations and, notably, completing certain interviews following the receipt from the Co-Prosecutors of a request for further investigative acts. At the end of March 2008 Duch was interviewed for a further three days at the ECCC premises by the CIJ. Further CIJ interviews with Duch are foreseen for the coming weeks.

2. As to the remaining four charged persons on the second case file, the CIJ have conducted a full strategic review of the main investigative approaches following various outreach missions. None of these four charged persons has agreed to be interviewed on case file matters by the CIJ: the investigations are proceeding expeditiously and independently of this position of these charged persons.
The four charged persons have all received family and legal visits in March 2008 and all (except Khieu Samphan) attended various court hearings and/or interviews this last month. Their health is stable. Ieng Sary was brought to Calmette hospital for medical treatment in early March. In addition, and following orders of the CIJ for the completion of formal expert medical examinations, in early March both Ieng Sary and Noun Chea were examined in Calmette Hospital by Cambodian and foreign cardiologists.

3. As regards civil parties and further to a request by the CIJ, the Co-Prosecutors have confirmed that they are widening the scope of their investigation in the second case file to include another security centre, which allowed 3 additional civil parties to the second case file. Further applications are currently being analysed by the Victims Unit and are expected in the very near future.

4. OCIJ staff members have contributed to seminars and conferences in March 2008, in Phnom Penh and elsewhere in Cambodia. The OCIJ was particularly happy to make presentations at a conference organized by the Press Club of Cambodia in early March 2008 and is working with ECCC Public Affairs to organize a follow-up seminar (provisionally fixed for early May 2008) on press coverage of transitional justice tribunals. The CIJ are convinced that this will constitute an excellent forum for a useful exchange of views between the press and ECCC representatives.

French lawyer for Khmer Rouge leader challenges tribunal, triggering new delay

The International Herald Tribune
The Associated Press
Published: April 24, 2008

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia
: A French lawyer known for his provocative style and infamous clients has taken center stage at the tribunal for Cambodia's former Khmer Rouge leaders, challenging the judges and adding to the woes of an already troubled court.
The aggressive stance taken by Jacques Verges at an appeal by former Khmer Rouge President Khieu Samphan for release from pretrial detention augurs possible new hurdles for the tribunal, plagued over the past few years by political wrangling, corruption scandals and inadequate financing.
Conflict within the defense team surfaced Thursday when Khieu Samphan's other lawyer, Cambodian Say Bory, urged the Frenchman to tone down his aggressive style.
"If he doesn't, it could be the end for him ... and then what would happen to the case?" Say Bory said. "I want this to move forward."
The long-delayed U.N.-assisted tribunal seeks justice for the estimated 1.7 million people who died from starvation, disease, overwork and execution as a result of the communist Khmer Rouge's radical attempt to build a classless society when it held power in 1975-79. Khieu Samphan has denied responsibility for the atrocities.

But the spotlight in a pretrial hearing Wednesday was on the 83-year-old Verges, who triggered a delay with an outburst over the court's failure to translate thousands of pages of documents into French, one of the tribunal's three official languages, along with Khmer and English.
Verges is every bit as controversial as the people he defends, going back five decades to Algerian freedom fighters accused of terrorism. He was the subject of a feature-length documentary film last year, "Terror's Advocate."
His past clients include Nazi Gestapo officer Klaus Barbie and French collaborators, Venezuelan terrorist Carlos the Jackal, various Palestinian hijackers, former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, and confessed serial killer Charles Sobhraj.
He has also looked after the interests of Saddam Hussein and several brutal African dictators, but has represented some true underdogs as well, mainly working-class citizens from France's ethnic minority communities.
Verges was born in northeastern Thailand to a French diplomat and a Vietnamese mother, a union said to have hurt his father's career. He has suggested his ethnic background has made him sympathetic to underdogs and outcasts.

Verges has said he likes to employ what he calls a "rupture" strategy, questioning the legitimacy of the court and accusing it of being a tool of injustice.
Verges and Khieu Samphan, 76, have said they have known each other since they both were active in left-wing student activities in Paris in the 1950s.
The tribunal has charged Khieu Samphan with crimes against humanity and war crimes, detaining him since last November.
Wednesday's closed-door hearing on Khieu Samphan's appeal was abruptly adjourned when Verges refused to continue.
"There is not one page of the case file against Mr. Khieu Samphan translated into French," Verges explained to reporters. "I should be capable of knowing what my client is blamed for."
The judges suggested Khieu Samphan might want to appoint a new lawyer to represent him — and then adjourned the hearing.
"I have been a lawyer for 50 years, it is the first time I have seen judges ask an accused to change his lawyer. This is a scandal!" Verges said. "This never happens except in dictatorships!"
The tribunal's judges said in a statement late Wednesday that they will "issue a warning" to Verges for courtroom behavior causing the hearing's postponement.
One of the Cambodian prosecutors, Chea Leang, acknowledged that the tribunal is facing difficulty translating documents for all its cases into its three official languages.
But she said Verges' refusal to participate in the hearing was "unreasonable" because the proceedings were not part of the actual trial.
The long-delayed tribunal is expected to hold its first trial later this year. Four other former senior Khmer Rouge are being held for trial.
Khieu Samphan has blamed the late Khmer Rouge chief Pol Pot for the group's policies.

Copyright © 2008 the International Herald Tribune All rights reserved

Lawyer slams detention of former Khmer Rouge leader

The China Post
By Suy Se, AFP
Thursday, April 24, 2008

PHNOM PENH -- Former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan went before Cambodia's genocide tribunal for a pre-trial hearing Wednesday, where famed French lawyer Jacques Verges branded his detention "illegal."
The judges adjourned the hearing and warned Verges over his behaviour after he said he was unable to act for his client because court documents had not been translated.
The controversial Verges, who has defended some of the world's most infamous figures, told reporters he was "indignant" to discover 16,000 pages of court documents had not been translated into French, one of the court's three official languages, for Khieu Samphan's appeal against his detention without bail.
"His detention is illegal because it has been ordered from a file to which his lawyers did not have access," the lawyer, whose notorious clients have included Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie and Venezuelan terrorist "Carlos the Jackal," said after Khieu Samphan made his first public appearance before the U.N.-backed tribunal.
The judges said Verges and his Cambodian co-lawyer had given no indication of any such difficulties since filing their appeal on December 21, 2007, adding that all the relevant documents had been translated.
"As a consequence of the behavior of the international co-lawyer advising with effectively no notice that he will not continue to act in this appeal within the circumstances mentioned above, a warning is given to him," they said in a statement on their decision to adjourn the proceedings to a date to be decided.
A fierce anti-colonialist, Verges, who was born in Thailand, reportedly befriended Khieu Samphan and other future Khmer Rouge leaders while at university in Paris in the 1950s.

Khieu Samphan, who was detained by the court in November on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, earlier listened stony-faced as head judge Prak Kimsan read out the background of the case against him.
He then told the court, which was set up to try former Khmer Rouge leaders for genocide and crimes against humanity during their brutal 1975-1979 rule, that he had lived in poverty for the past 10 years.
"I have had no job since leaving the jungle. (I have) only my wife, who struggles to feed me and my family," Khieu Samphan said in Khmer, referring to his 1998 defection from the then-dying Khmer Rouge guerrilla movement based in the remote northwest.
Khieu Samphan, who court documents say is 76, was dressed in a light-grey shirt and trousers and spoke in a quiet, hoarse voice as he addressed the three Cambodian and two foreign judges, an AFP reporter at the court said.

Copyright © 1999 – 2008 The China Post.

Media Update Pre-Trial Chamber: Appeal Brief against the Provisional Detention Order

The Pre-Trial Chamber has scheduled the hearing on the 'Appeal Brief against the Provisional Detention Order' by Khieu Samphan for 23 April 2008 at 0930. Media are reminded that they should be in their seats at the ECCC at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the proceedings. As previously announced the hearing will be held in camera and closed to the public and media with the following exceptions:
A Photo Opportunity will be provided to select members of the media at the beginning of the proceedings. As in previous hearings the photo op will be limited to 5 minutes and will provide an opportunity to view the judges, prosecution and defence (including the accused person). The number of media for this photo op will be limited to 8 (6 photo and 2 video). The media will be responsible for organizing a pooling system for the photo and video material prior to the beginning of the photo op.
Following the photo op, the 'Report of Examination' will be read in public. As in previous hearings media and public will be able to view the proceedings on video screens in the main courtroom. The usual audio and video feeds will also be provided in the media access rooms at the front of the court.
After the reading, the hearing will go into closed session. It is not envisaged that there will be any further public session.
30 minutes after the conclusion of the proceedings individual press conferences for the defence team and the prosecution will be held in the main court room.

French lawyer in Cambodia to represent ex-Khmer Rouge leader

Associated Press
Monday, April 21, 2008

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — A French lawyer who defended terrorists and a former Nazi officer arrived in Cambodia on Monday to represent a former Khmer Rouge leader.
Jacques Verges declined to comment and only said "go to the court" before being whisked away in a car after his arrival at Phnom Penh International Airport.
Verges will join a Cambodian attorney to argue former Khmer Rouge leader Khieu Samphan's appeal against his pretrial detention.

The U.N.-assisted tribunal has held Khieu Samphan since Nov. 19 on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity stemming from atrocities committed under Khmer Rouge rule in 1975-79.
The communist group's radical policies led to the deaths of some 1.7 million people from starvation, disease, overwork and execution.
Khieu Samphan is one of five former leaders of the group held for their alleged roles in the atrocities. He has repeatedly denied any involvement.
Verges has won international notoriety for his past efforts in defending criminals such as Venezuelan terrorist Carlos the Jackal and Nazi Gestapo officer Klaus Barbie.
Khieu Samphan has said he has known Verges since he attended university in France in the 1950s, when both were active in student movements against French colonialism.
Khieu Samphan's defense team also includes Say Bory, a Cambodian lawyer who used to serve on the constitutional council, the country's highest legal body.
Say Bory said the defense is challenging both the tribunal's grounds for detaining Khieu Samphan and its arguments implicating him in the Khmer Rouge's atrocities.

Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Khmer survivors demand swift trials in Cambodia

Borneo Bulletin Online
Friday, April 18, 2008

CHOEUNG EK, Cambodia (AFP) - Hundreds of survivors of the Khmer Rouge gathered Thursday at Cambodia's killing fields to demand speedy trials of the regime's leaders on the anniversary of the capital's fall to the ultra-Maoists.
About 70 Buddhist monks blessed victims' skulls on display at the Choeung Ek killing fields outside Phnom Penh, where Khmer Rouge soldiers bludgeoned to death thousands of people during the regime's 1975-1979 reign.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy and about 700 people assembled at the sombre memorial to mark 33 years since Phnom Penh fell to the communist guerrillas, who are believed to be behind the deaths of up to two million people.

"I plead to the United Nations and the international community to push for the trials of Khmer Rouge leaders soon. Otherwise, the Khmer Rouge leaders ... will die without any convictions," Sam Rainsy said.

"We demand the UN-backed court quickly try the Khmer Rouge leaders and render justice to the victims," he said.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Monday urged the courts to deliver "long-overdue" justice for the crimes committed by the Khmer Rouge.

Frustration has been building as a funding crisis has caused delays in the tribunal, leaving many Cambodians fearful that convictions might come too late.

"I have been waiting for justice for years," said villager Sou Phan, who lost more than 10 relatives under the regime. "I pray for the souls of the skulls to help make the court try the Khmer Rouge leaders before they die."

Up to two million people died of overwork and starvation or were executed under the Khmer Rouge, which abolished religion, property rights, currency and schools.

Millions more were driven from the cities onto vast collective farms as the ultra-Maoist regime sought to create an agrarian utopia.

A joint Cambodia-UN tribunal convened in 2006 after nearly a decade of haggling.

Public trials of the regime's five top surviving leaders, who were recently detained by the court on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes, are expected to begin later this year.

Copyright ? 2008 Brunei Press Sdn Bhd. All right reserved.

U.S. gives Cambodia $2 mln for genocide museum

Monday April 21, 2008

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Cambodia is to build a Khmer Rouge genocide museum and library, funded by the United States, as a permanent reminder of the "Killing Fields" atrocities of Pol Pot's guerrilla movement, its director-to-be said on Monday.
Documentation Centre of Cambodia head Youk Chhang, who has been cataloguing the ultra-Maoist regime's crimes for more than a decade, said the museum would be on the site of an old re-education camp in the capital.
"Genocide does not discriminate. It kept happening in the last century and one way is to use education as a tool help to prevent genocide," he told Reuters.
Prime Minister Hun Sen, himself a former Khmer Rouge soldier who defected to Vietnam in the late 1970s, handed over the land on April 17, the 33rd anniversary of the 1975 downfall of Phnom Penh to Pol Pot's peasant army.
In the next four years, an estimated 1.7 million people were to die of starvation, execution, disease or forced labour.
A $56 million United Nations-backed court has charged five top cadres with war crimes and crimes against humanity. Cambodia has appealed to its donors for another $114 million in funding to see the trials through to a conclusion.
Copyright © 2008 Reuters

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Secretary General's Way of Soliciting Financial Contributions to the ECCC?

Long-overdue’ justice necessary in Cambodia, says Secretary-General Ban
NU News Center

15 April 2008 – Noting that today is the tenth anniversary of the death of the notorious Cambodian dictator Pol Pot, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on the United Nations-backed tribunal to “soon deliver long-overdue justice for the people” of the South-East Asian country.
“I would like to remind the international community of the urgent importance of bringing to closure one of history’s darkest chapters,” Mr. Ban said in a
“The United Nations and the Royal Government of Cambodia remain actively engaged in efforts to hold the Khmer Rouge senior leaders and those most responsible accountable for their horrific crimes.”
The Secretary-General said it was his hope that the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) – which has been operational since July 2006 – could soon deliver justice.
Under an agreement signed by the UN and Cambodia, the ECCC was set up as an independent court using a mixture of Cambodian judges and staff and foreign personnel. It is designated to try those deemed most responsible for crimes and serious violations of Cambodian and international law between April 1975 and January 1979.
Estimates vary but as many as three million people died during the rule of the Khmer Rouge, which was then followed by a protracted period of civil war in the impoverished country.

A decade after Pol Pot's death, some Cambodians ask the spirit of once feared despot for luck

ANLONG VENG, Cambodia (AP) - Ten years after the death of brutal Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, his grave has become a symbol of spiritual comfort to some in the village where he died.
Villagers pray at the site, asking for blessings of luck, happiness and even protection from malaria _ despite the mayhem hewrought upon their country. He died on April 15, 1998, apparently of heart failure.
«I know it is odd, but I just do as many people here do, asking for happiness from his spirit,» said Orn Pheap, a 37-year-old woman who lost a grandfather and two uncles during the Khmer Rouge's reign of terror from 1975 to 1979.
«I don't know how long I can stay angry with him, since he is already dead,» she said. Her house sits 100 meters (yards) from the grave.
Officials in Anlong Veng, 305 kilometers (190 miles) north of the capital, Phnom Penh, say only a small minority of the area's 35,000 residents pray at Pol Pot's grave. For most, Pol Pot is remembered as a murderous tyrant with fanatical communist beliefs. Under his leadership, the Khmer Rouge turned the country into a vast slave labor camp, causing the deaths of some 1.7 million people from starvation, forced labor and execution. Last week, the grave _ a pile of dirt covered by a knee-high corrugated zinc roof _ was cluttered with clay jars filled with half-burned incense sticks, a sign of prayer and worship. Cambodians believe in the influence of spirits and superstitious forces on their daily lives and fortunes, which may be why some worship at the grave. Many may still view their former tormentor as a powerful figure, said Philip Short, author of «Pol Pot: The History of a Nightmare,» a biography of the former despot.
«Evil or good is not the issue,» Short said in an e-mail interview. «He has imposed himself on Cambodians' imaginations, and in that sense he lives on» in the world of spirits.Once a jungle war zone, Anlong Veng is now a sprawling border market town bustling with the kind of capitalist activities Pol Pot and his comrades sought to stamp out. Ramshackle shops are filled with clothing, house wares, pirated DVDs and other goods from nearby Thailand.
Cambodian pop songs blare from a coffee shop near Pol Pot's grave, which has been designated a tourist attraction. It is among the few remnants of Khmer Rouge history, which the government is trying to preserve.
Some Cambodians have traveled to Anlong Veng to spit on Pol Pot's grave and curse him in anger, said 37-year-old Sat Narin, who owns a nearby clothing shop. «Given his bad reputation, he should not be venerated,» he said. «But somehow he is popular with some people.Among the worshippers who seek blessings from Pol Pot's ghost are ethnic Vietnamese who live in the community _ a sharp irony given Pol Pot's massacres of ethnic Vietnamese during his rule.A 33-year-old Vietnamese resident, who goes by her adopted Cambodian name of Van Sothy, recalled a nightmare in which she saw a black-clad man sitting on a tree near her hut.When she described the vision to her Cambodian neighbors, they advised her to bring offerings of fruit and boiled chicken to Pol Pot's grave to ask his spirit for protection.«I have prayed at his grave ever since. I just want to show some respect to the spiritual master of the land,» she said.
If Pol Pot were alive, he would likely be facing war crimes charges along with five of his former comrades currently detained by Cambodia's U.N.-backed genocide tribunal. The long-delayed trials are expected to start later this year.
Nhem En, who was forced to work as the photographer at the Khmer Rouge's Tuol Sleng torture center in Phnom Penh, says he is setting up his own museum in Anlong Veng about the communist group _ not to glorify them but for educational purposes. He too used to light incense and pray at Pol Pot's grave, he said, but «only for him not to butcher people again in his next life.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Court's Finances

Multiple sources close to the court have alluded to the court's current financial status as "unclear". A few have suggested that the court's alerts about the Cambodian side running out of money by the end of April were pre-mature and not well-founded financial statements. These, however, are individual, however well-informed, opinions. It is interesting why the court won't let the general public make their own judgments on exactly how critical its current financial situation is. If the earlier-cited Indian audit firm gave the court a clean bill of health on matters of financial management, what prevents the court from releasing their current and suggested budgets and let the public see first hand what the court has been talking about all this time. Transparency doesn't start with newpaper ads advertizing positions available at the court, as anyone can put an ad in the paper. It does start with the general public -- and particularly the public of the donor states which is footing the bill of the process -- knowing exactly how the court spends its money in an itemized way. Until this is done, all transparency talk, vis-a-vis this tribunal, is nothing, but high-falutin' posturing.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

New Law Review Article on the ECCC

New Paths in International Criminal Justice?
The Internal Rules of the Cambodian Extraordinary Chambers Guido Acquaviva*
* Legal Officer (Appeals Chamber, ICTY). The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Tribunal or of the United Nations in general. [

The Internal Rules of the Cambodian Extraordinary Chambers adopted in June 2007 provide some insight into how a non-adversarial system might work in the context of a hybrid tribunal with jurisdiction over both domestic and international crimes. This approach presents various novelties, especially with respect to the pre-trial and trial stages of the proceedings, and provides an example of integration into a domestic non-adversarial system of principles derived from international criminal procedure.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Ieng Sary Lawyers Raise Amnesty Issue

By Mean Veasna, VOA Khmer Original report from Phnom Penh09 April 2008

Lawyers for jailed Khmer Rouge leader Ieng Sary filed a petition to the tribunal courts Monday protesting the legality of a trial due to an earlier royal amnesty.
Lawyer Ang Udom said Wednesday a trial of his client would be illegitimate.
"He cannot be tried for the second time," Ang Udom said. "This is contrary to local and international law, because he has been tried and pardoned by the king."
Ieng Sary was found guilty in absentia of genocide in a trial following the ousting of the Khmer Rouge in 1979. The trial is widely viewed as a show trial.
Ieng Sary defected to the government in 1996, following a royal pardon and amnesty by then king Norodom Sihanouk for the guilty verdict of the Vietnamese trial.
Lawyers argued the amnesty should take precedence over the hybrid courts. However, experts say he can still be charged with war crimes, even if the courts allow the amnesty argument.
Tribunal co-prosecutor Robert Petit confirmed Wednesday receipt of the petition, which said the court had no authority in the Ieng Sary case, due to the royal pardon and amnesty agreement with the government.
"Indeed, we will look at that closely and reply to the lawyers in writing," he said.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Survivor recalls horrors of Cambodia genocide

April 7, 2008 -- Updated 1855 GMT (0255 HKT)
By Christiane Amanpour
CNN Chief International Correspondent
Editor's note: Christiane Amanpour is currently in production on a major CNN documentary that focuses on those people who stood up and said, "Listen! We must stop the killing. Stop the genocide."
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (CNN) -- A recently disclosed memo gave U.S. interrogators the ability to use harsh methods -- what many call "torture" -- to extract information from terrorist suspects after 9/11. Around the world, critics saw it as another blow to American prestige and moral authority.
The 2003 document also invokes wartime powers to protect interrogators who violate the Geneva Conventions, for example, by the use of waterboarding -- when a prisoner is made to think he is drowning.
Half a world away, the divisive debate over whether waterboarding constitutes torture comes into sharp relief at the infamous S-21, Tuol Sleng Prison in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
This is where the genocidal regime of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge imprisoned and brutalized its enemies from 1975 to 1979. I visited the once secret S-21, now a museum, with Van Nath, a former inmate. He remembers being brought here blindfolded and terrified:
"I thought that was the end of my life," he told me. "In my room people kept dying, one or two every day."
Van Nath was kept in a room packed with 50 other inmates, shackled together and forced to lie down.
"We could not sit. If we wanted to sit, we had to ask permission first. No talking, whispering or making noise," he told me.
Van Nath described how male prisoners were whipped raw, their fingernails were yanked out, they were hogtied to wooden bars. Prison guards mutilated women's genitals, ripped off their nipples with pliers. And worst of all, babies were ripped from their mothers' arms and slaughtered.
Van Nath was accused of being a CIA agent and given electric shock torture, but he survived when his jailers found out he was one of Cambodia's most prominent painters. And what did they make him paint?
"Pol Pot's picture. Big pictures," he told me. "I had to paint the same one again and again. If they didn't like my painting, that would have been the end of my life."
So when Pol Pot finally fell in 1979, Van Nath returned to paint what he had really seen and heard at S-21. He did it as a memorial to the 14,000 who had been tortured and executed in the prison. It's one of the few public reminders of the regime's crimes.
Take water torture, for instance. Van Nath remembers it as if it were yesterday. I gasped as I entered a room filled with his vivid depictions.
One of his paintings shows a prisoner blindfolded and hoisted onto a makeshift scaffold by two guards. He is then lowered head first into a massive barrel of water. Another shows a prisoner with cloth over his face, writhing as an interrogator pours water over his head.
Van Nath still remembers the accompanying screams: "It sounded like when we are really in pain, choking in water," he told me. "The sound was screaming, from the throat. I suppose they could not bear the torture.
"Whenever we heard the noises we were really shocked and scared. We thought one day they will do the same thing to us."
As he talked and showed me around, my mind raced to the debate in the United States over this same tactic used on its prisoners nearly 40 years later. I stared blankly at another of Van Nath's paintings. This time a prisoner is submerged in a life-size box full of water, handcuffed to the side so he cannot escape or raise his head to breathe. His interrogators, arrayed around him, are demanding information.
I asked Van Nath whether he had heard this was once used on America's terrorist suspects. He nodded his head. "It's not right," he said.
But I pressed him: Is it torture? "Yes," he said quietly, "it is severe torture. We could try it and see how we would react if we are choking under water for just two minutes. It is very serious."
Back then, Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge cadres recognized this for what it was and used it with brutal efficiency. The Cambodian genocide ultimately killed 2 million people.
Fourteen thousand of them had passed through the gates of hell at Tuol Sleng Prison.
© 2008 Cable News Network.

Christiane Amanpour: Post Nam Cambodian Genocide Just Like U.S. 'Waterboarding' Today?

By Warner Todd Huston
News Busters
April 7, 2008 - 21:23 ET

So, do you want to see a most egregious example of equating apples to oranges? Well, even that old saw is too mild a metaphor to describe the disgusting example of Christiane Amanpour's latest foray into moral relativism. In her CNN piece titled, "Survivor recalls horrors of Cambodia genocide," Amanpour assumes that American "waterboarding" today is exactly the same thing as the genocide of millions as perpetrated by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. Amanpour seems to think that waterboarding is the same thing as what Pol Pot did with prisoners that were "whipped raw, their fingernails were yanked out, they were hogtied to wooden bars. Prison guards mutilated women's genitals, ripped off their nipples with pliers. And worst of all, babies were ripped from their mothers' arms and slaughtered."
Amanpour's latest project is being touted as a "major CNN documentary" that focusses on "those who stood up and said, 'Listen! We must stop the killing. Stop the genocide,'" during a turbulent 1970's Cambodia. The genocide in question describes the murderous reign of Pol Pot who slaughtered over two million Cambodians and imprisoned and tortured millions more after the end of the Vietnam war.
But what is Amanpour's focus with her report? Is it how the Khmer Rouge communists tortured women, children and men to elicit faux "confessions" of capitalist crimes? Is it the many families that were torn apart? Is it that these murders continued with impunity because the Democrat Party convinced the U.S. to lose the war in Vietnam? No, none of that. Amanpour doesn't seem to care much about what happened back between the years 1975 to 1979. No, it's today that she is more interested in. Yes, Amanpour is far more interested that she get her Cambodian survivor to say that what Pol Pot did to millions of Cambodians was just as bad as what George Bush is rumored to have done to a few terror suspects today.
Shamefully, Amanpour brushes off her host's discussions of the communist terror he survived in the 1970s and constantly interjects Bush's "crimes" into former inmate Van Nath's story. If this interview is any example of what her "major CNN documentary" will be like, get ready for historical revisionism into which Amanpour will shoehorn current partisan political hatred.
Here is how she starts off her little piece:
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (CNN) -- A recently disclosed memo gave U.S. interrogators the ability to use harsh methods -- what many call "torture" -- to extract information from terrorist suspects after 9/11. Around the world, critics saw it as another blow to American prestige and moral authority.
The 2003 document also invokes wartime powers to protect interrogators who violate the Geneva Conventions, for example, by the use of waterboarding -- when a prisoner is made to think he is drowning.
Half a world away, the divisive debate over whether waterboarding constitutes torture comes into sharp relief at the infamous S-21, Tuol Sleng Prison in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
What George Bush's waterboarding policy has to do with the mass imprisonment of millions and the systematic murder of an entire generation of people is anybody's guess. Well, unless the whole point of Amanpour's piece is merely an excuse to attack Bush, that is.
Look at that last line quoted above. Amanpour says "half a world away" as if the 1970s genocide and the "debate over waterboarding" in 2008 were directly connected. Hell, they aren't even in the same century, much less connected!
Amanpour gives us her faux shock and horror as ex-inmate Van Nath gives her a tour of his one time prison.
Take water torture, for instance. Van Nath remembers it as if it were yesterday. I gasped as I entered a room filled with his vivid depictions.
Amanpour describes artist Van Nath's paintings that depicts the water tortures he and his fellow prisoners experienced.
One of his paintings shows a prisoner blindfolded and hoisted onto a makeshift scaffold by two guards. He is then lowered head first into a massive barrel of water.
As he talked and showed me around, my mind raced to the debate in the United States over this same tactic used on its prisoners nearly 40 years later. I stared blankly at another of Van Nath's paintings. This time a prisoner is submerged in a life-size box full of water, handcuffed to the side so he cannot escape or raise his head to breathe. His interrogators, arrayed around him, are demanding information.
Yes, she "gasped" as if she were shocked. But, obviously she wasn't impressed enough to let the man just tell his story without trying to cajole him into making political statements about modern events in a country not his own.
I asked Van Nath whether he had heard this was once used on America's terrorist suspects. He nodded his head. "It's not right," he said.
But I pressed him: Is it torture? "Yes," he said quietly, "it is severe torture. We could try it and see how we would react if we are choking under water for just two minutes. It is very serious."
Someone needs to inform Christiane Amanpour that "waterboarding" does not include totally submerging someone into "barrels" of water and then having them fastened in so that they can drown.
In fact, Amanpour's entire effort to equate the use of waterboarding on a very select few terrorists to the torture of millions of people on such a massive scale is disgusting. Unlike Pol Pot's mad regime, as a policy, America doesn't pull out fingernails, doesn't kill children, doesn't drown prisoners, doesn't "mutilate women's genitals" or rip off their nipples "with pliers." No Ms. Amanpour, what happened to the Cambodian people -- millions brutally murdered by a psychotic tyrant -- is not like George Bush's waterboarding in the slightest. Not even a tiny bit.
It's a shame that Amanpour so belittles the heartwrenching experiences of the millions of Cambodians that lost their lives, that she so spits upon the history of an entire people so badly brutalized by a despot so that she can make her cheap political shots at a president she hates in a time 30 years separated from the lives of the people she is supposed to be documenting.
In fact, it is more than a shame. It is almost criminal to so mistreat these Cambodian people who were kind enough to lend their assistance to Christiane Amanpour in hopes that she might get the story of their great suffering out to the wider world.
Ah, but when cheap political shots are the actual goal, damn the history. To hell with what these dirty people suffered. Who cares why they were so mistreated? If we can't use their agony 30 years hence to batter about our current president, well, what good are they? No one cares about their story, anyway. What we really care about is Christiane Amanpour's opinion on politics today!
It is lamentable that the Cambodian people are going to be raped all over again, this time by a CNN that will use their decades old horror as an excuse to score political points today. Its just one more disgusting historical hatchet job by a self-absorbed Christiane Amanpour and CNN.
(h/t NewsBuster Dave Finley)
(Photo Credit:
Copyright © 2005-2008 NewsBusters.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Half a Million Australian Dollars?

One thing is clear -- the half a million dollar contribution was raised by the Cambodian side of the tribunal and, therefore, earmarked by the donor to cover their expenses. What is not clear is whether this amount constitutes Australia's entire pledge to the tribunal's new fundraising campaign or it is Australia's contribution to the Cambodian side of the tribunal which will be followed by a larger contribution to the UN side of the court to compliment Australia's original contribution. If the latter is true the success of this fundraiser vis-a-vis Australia is although very insignificant financially -- but rather symbolic -- the tribunal's balooning budget in which case everything will depend upon how more than this amount Australia will be willing to contribute the UN side of the tribunal. If the former is true, this amount in itself a far cry from what the tribunal had requested in New York City last week and is not going to make much of a difference in saving the tribunal unless other states will agree to carry the rest of the financial burden. It is very unlikely that Western European states will come up the monies to bridge to shortfall between the dollars the tribunal wants and what it can get. There is a possibility that Japan might come up with a significant amount, yet again, but this amount will be very unlikely substantial enough to cover even half of the shortfall. It is true that no reports have appeared on the US position vis-a-vis the current fundraiser which can be of great significance, if the US decide to provide funding.
It is also possible that the architects of the new budget -- and the subsequent fundraiser -- never expected to get the entire amount sought with one cast of the net, but planned this campaign to last for the entire lifespan of the tribunal with it getting easier and easier toward the end as the donor-states will become less and less willing to let it go under due to financial constraints.

Australia Funds Cambodian Tribunal

Thursday, 03 April 2008

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Australia pledged $458,000 Thursday for Cambodia's U.N.-backed genocide tribunal, whose operations have been threatened by a shortage of funds as it prepares for trials of former Khmer Rouge leaders.
Bob McMullan, the Australian parliamentary secretary for international development assistance, announced the pledge during a meeting with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An.
He said his government made the decision to help pay Cambodia's share of the expenses because "we want to make sure that the resources are available so that this important step in justice is capable of being properly undertaken."
The money is "available now," McMullan said.
Helen Jarvis, the tribunal's chief spokeswoman, said the contribution "takes the pressure off."
The Khmer Rouge is accused of responsibility for the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians during its 1975-1979 rule. So far, none of the regime's senior leaders has faced trial.
The U.N.-assisted tribunal opened its offices in early 2006 after years of wrangling between the Cambodian government and the world body. Trials — conducted jointly by international and Cambodian jurists — were originally projected to end by 2009, but are now expected to run through March 2011.
To extend its operation, the tribunal is seeking an additional $114 million. It told donor countries in January it would need $170 million, a sharp increase from the originally budgeted $56 million.
The United Nations was supposed to provide $43 million for its share of the original budget, and Cambodia $13.3 million.
Jarvis said the funds that Cambodia has available are $4.9 million short of its original share. The Cambodian side now has enough money to keep operating until the end of May, rather than April as previously projected, she said.
The pledge announced by McMullan is Australia's first direct contribution to the Cambodian side, which is "very encouraging," Jarvis said.
Australia previously gave about $2.3 million for the U.N.'s share of the budget.
Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Cambodia says Khmer Rouge court funds "no problem"

Thu Apr 3, 2008 3:22pm

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Cambodia is confident about securing an additional $114 million from donors to pay for the ballooning costs of the Khmer Rouge "Killing Fields" tribunal, senior minister Sok An said on Thursday.
"We will have no problem with the financial support," he told a news conference to announce a pledge of an additional A$500,000 ($459,000) from Australia towards the United Nations-backed proceedings against Pol Pot's top surviving henchmen.
The court had an initial budget of $56 million, and was expected to run for three years. However, it was slow in starting, and is now expected to run over until 2011.
Sok An said the court had enough funds to last until the end of this year.
An estimated 1.7 million died under Pol Pot's 1975-79 reign of terror as the dream of creating an agrarian utopia descended into the nightmare of the "Killing Fields".
Many victims were tortured and executed. The rest died of starvation or disease.
Five top Khmer Rouge cadres have been arrested by the court and charged with war crimes or crimes against humanity.
They are "Brother Number Two" Nuon Chea, 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.
Pol Pot himself died in 1998.
© Reuters 2008 All rights reserved

Tribunal Trouble

The Wall Street Journal

The Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia was one of the 20th century's most horrific crimes. The United Nations-sponsored war crimes tribunal that is seeking justice for the millions of victims has been wracked with allegations of corruption. So we're happy to report that outside scrutiny seems to be having an effect.
Last year, an audit of the tribunal, part of whose funding is supervised by the United Nations Development Program, found significant conflicts of interest in funding oversight, inflated salaries and underqualified staff. After this page exposed the audit's findings in September, the tribunal started to clean up its HR practices by improving hiring procedures and implementing a staff code of conduct.

Now, donor nations are turning up the heat. When the court released its revised budget to donors in January, it asked for an additional $114 million and an extension of the court's life until 2011. The biggest country donors – including Japan, Germany and France – came back with such extensive questions that it took the court two months to prepare its response.
Among the questions: Why did the tribunal triple its original budget projection to $170 million from $56 million? Why did staff costs constitute around 70% of that increase – and what exactly will those staff be doing? And why is the court, now in its second year, taking so long to try the top Khmer Rouge officials, many of whom are now in their 80s?
It's good to see donor nations asking these questions, but it would be better if the public – who ultimately are footing the bill – also had access to information about how their tax dollars are being spent. It's unclear whether the court will ever publicly release the revised budget projection.
Without new funding, the Cambodian side of the court will run out of money by the end of May; the U.N. side of the court can last only a few months longer. It's in no one's interest to see the tribunal fall apart. The Cambodian government and the UNDP can honor the memories of the victims of the Khmer Rouge genocide by running a clean tribunal.

Copyright © 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Cash-Strapped ECCC Showcases Court Transparency

By: Craig Guthrie
The Mekong Times Daily

A delegation from the ECCC yesterday returned from a high profile meeting with donor countries and high-ranking UN officials in New York. As budget fears grow, the delegation reportedly took the opportunity to present a recent glowing review of the trial’s much maligned human resource process.
A delegation from the cash-strapped extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) returned yesterday from a meeting with international donors in New York where a positive report on the court’s hiring and firing procedures was presented.

ECCC Public Affairs Chief Helen Jarvis said the meeting, attended by representatives from some 20 potential donor countries and high-ranking UN staff, was both “productive and fruitful,” but stressed that the even was never supposed to produce immediate concrete conclusions on funding.
She said the main purpose of the meeting was for the ECCC to present the UN with a report of its recent progress and the successful results of a recent review of the trial’s human resources procedures.
The ECCC recently warned its more than 200 Cambodian staff that salary funds will run out by May, while NGOs have cautioned that the court’s lack of transparency, particularly in human resources, may impede its desperate quest for funding.
New York-based legal NGO the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) in Feb 2007 accused Cambodian staff of giving kickbacks to ensure their positions. The UN Development Program (UNDP) released another damning report in June 2007.
“We are still working on the budget and establishing a precise timeline for it,” said Jarvis, adding that the UN has introduced a new special expert to evaluate the court.
The review of the ECCC’s human resources management, the full results of which will be released Apr 4, was carried out by a team of consultants from Cambodia and auditing company Deloitte India, and from said a recent press release.

“[The audit] has been able to show that a robust human resource system has been developed to effectively support the judicial process to minimize the risk of the questionable practices occurring in the future,” said the ECCC statement.
It went on to praise “job-matching,” or finding the right person for the job, saying the court “has taken a pragmatic approach in addressing the inherent constraint of Cambodia’s limited personnel pool.”
Job matching was an area attacked by the June 2007 UNDP human resources which found unqualified staff were being hired, uncovering discrepancies in the selection of candidates, and “weaknesses in the performance evaluation process.”
Long PanhaVuth, OSJI’s Cambodian justice initiative director, said his organization will welcome the findings of the report only of it has been conduced transparently, independently, and objectively.
He said he was unsure if the process was transparent, and warned the court may struggle to find funding if its process is not made more visible to the public and civil society.
The ECCC is currently seeking an additional US$ 114 million, over its initial projected budget of US$ 56.3 million, and a mandate extension from 2008 until 2011.
Extracted from:
-The Mekong Times, Vol. 01, #40, Tuesday, April 01, 2008.

The Court's Price Tag

With a $170 million price tag, the genocide trial of former Khmer Rouge leaders could be imperiled for lack of donor funds
by Susan Postlewaite

April 1, 2008

Dressed in a khaki shirt and slumped in his chair, eyes closed as the judges read the proceedings, the frail and white-haired "Brother No. 2" doesn't look the part of a mastermind of the 1970s reign of terror in Cambodia. Arrested at home near the Thai border last September, 82-year-old Nuon Chea is the top-ranking Khmer Rouge official to face trial for his role in the Cambodian genocide. But with his health deteriorating, the court worries he may die before the trial's conclusion. So haste is of the essence.

That's one factor that international aid donors must consider when deciding whether to foot the $170 million bill for the U.N.-sponsored trials of Nuon Chea and four other former Khmer Rouge officials. Trying them is proving far more costly than organizers had planned. The court's budget, originally $53 million for three years, has ballooned to $170 million for five years. And after a year and a half of operations, the hybrid court (run by both the U.N. and the Cambodian government) is running out of money. The Cambodian side has announced it runs out of funds in April.

Nearly 30 years after the end of the "killing fields" that left 2 million people dead, many Cambodians are wondering whether getting justice is worth the expense. Some think the trials in Cambodia are, as the former U.N. Secretary-General's representative in Cambodia Benny Widyono says, "a little too late."

Report of Overspending
But others feel that closure is necessary. "We want to see who is responsible for the killing," says Touch Vunly, a retired government soldier who now farms near Cambodia's border with Thailand, not far from the house where Khieu Samphan, who was a member of the Khmer Rouge central committee, lived before his arrest. Touch Vunly says he has no grudges, but he adds that he would like to know whether "the leaders have to take responsibility if they do wrong." In a country where criminal behavior has for years gone unpunished, that may be the argument that persuades donors that spending as much as it takes on the Khmer Rouge trials is good value.

One problem: Donors want to know what's happened to some of the money they've already pledged. A U.N. audit report found inflated salaries and overstaffing on the Cambodian side of the court and harshly criticized the court for paying Cambodian staff $3,500 to $5,300 a month—in a country where teachers and civil servants still get less than $100. The high salaries mean the court has not been able to use lower local costs to make proceedings less expensive than in places such as The Hague, Netherlands, home to the war crimes trials for the former Yugoslavia.

Donors who have funded the tribunal until now aren't saying how much more they're willing to spend. The biggest donors have been Japan ($21.6 million) and France ($3.2 million). The European Commission, Australia, Canada, Germany, Britain, the Netherlands, Norway, and India have limited their contributions to a few million dollars or less, according to the court's financial statements. (The U.S. hasn't contributed anything.) The donors declined to comment on future pledges except to say they have sent questions to the U.N. about the expense. Cambodia has pledged $1.5 million cash, but says in-kind contributions would bump it to about $5 million for such things as taking care of the defendants in jail and the land for the court.

The new budget would cover expenses including more than $120,000 a year in medical costs for the five elderly defendants: Nuon Chea; Khieu Samphan; Kaing Guek Eav, better known as "Duch"; and Ieng Sary and his wife, Ieng Thirith. That includes round-the-clock doctor and nurse coverage at the court and an ambulance that often ferries defendants to Calmette Hospital 45 minutes away. And it also would pay for international doctor visits, particularly for Ieng Sary, the 82-year-old former Khmer Rouge Foreign Minister, who has heart problems.

War Crimes Trials Are Expensive
Lawyers leading the case against the Khmer Rouge officials are hopeful that a lack of funds won't shut down the court. "I don't think we will stop in mid-stride," says Robert Petit, chief co-prosecutor for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia (ECCC), the tribunal's official name. Petit, a veteran of war crimes tribunals in Rwanda, Kosovo, East Timor, and Sierra Leone, says war crimes trials are expensive. The ECCC, for instance, requires translation of documents and proceedings into English, French, and Khmer. While only five defendants are facing trial now, the prosecutors' office is investigating others as well.

Petit won't say whether more arrests will come. But he argues one measure of the court's success will be its ability to create a legacy for future generations. "We have to make sure at the end the evidence and our interpretation of the evidence is available so they can use it to move forward. That is complex and requires funding." The donors' funding also is helping to pay for attorneys for the accused. Defense Support Section chief Rupert Skilbeck says he has funding to provide a strong enough defense for the five to envision possible acquittals. "Usually everyone thinks they're guilty, but they have not looked at the evidence," says Skilbeck, a British lawyer and also a veteran of other war crimes tribunals.

Cambodia isn't the only court that has faced money problems due to a lack of accountability or financial controls, says Michael Johnson, the former chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia who was also involved in the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the Bosnia and Herzegovina War Crimes Chamber. He says the Bosnia court—eight courtrooms and about 400 defendants—is running about $10 million to $11 million per defendant. But other courts such as Rwanda—purely an international court (not a hybrid local/international as in Cambodia)—ran about $30 million per defendant; Sierra Leone was also high. In East Timor, another hybrid court came out at about $10 million per defendant, but critics say it ended up with a standard of justice that did not meet international criteria. "There is a real lack of accountability within the administration of these systems," says Johnson, who favors a special adviser to monitor and cut costs.

U.N. Appoints Veteran Prosecutor
However the Cambodian side of the court does not want a special adviser, insisting it doesn't want "a new party to be above the court," according to a spokesperson. And if the U.N. side got a special adviser, the Cambodian side would also be entitled to one at 50% of the U.N. adviser's salary.

The U.N. intervened last week, announcing after a meeting in New York with officials of the ECCC that David Tolbert, who has been prosecuting at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, will become Assistant Secretary-General of the U.N. for three months to "advise the U.N. on its assistance to the ECCC." The U.N. says the appointment is "essential during the forthcoming months leading up to the first trial." Donors did not immediately react, but Heather Ryan, monitor of the Khmer Rouge tribunal for the Open Society Justice Initiative, says Tolbert's "leadership" will be a welcome addition at a time when the ECCC faces "pressing issues."

Support among Cambodians for the trials always has been mixed, but watching the defendants on TV is popular. Plus, more than a third of Cambodian's population is under age 15, and the younger generation knows little to nothing about the Khmer Rouge era, which is considered by the current regime to be too politically controversial to be taught in schools. Court supporters say the trials will set the historical record straight.

Susan Postlewaite is an international business writer based in Phnom Penh.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Newly-Fashioned Broad Victim Participation Rights, New Suspects and Funding

Now that the PTC granted civil party lawyers'motion claiming broad vicim participation rights in the pre-trial proceedings before this tribunal, this participation regardless of the value it might bear that was claimed by the CSD Director Theary Seng in an emotional soliloquy, it will definitely result in longer periods of time it will take the PTC to deal with a wide range of pre-trial motions which are currently pending before it and which might be filed in the future.

This, coupled with the long-standing rumor that the OCP is putting together Introductory Submissions for another batch of suspects, might extend the life of this court far and beyond any period that had been discussed prior to its inception and is being discussed now. It is not clear whether the new budget of the court submitted to the recent donor conference had taken these developments into account, nor is it clear where the tribunal intends to raise money to cover all these very expensive addendums.