Director of Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam), Youk Chhang, recently wrote a letter to Assistant Secretary General for Legal Affairs Peter Taksoe-Jensen suggesting that Taksoe-Jensen reach out to one of the previous UN negotiators who had engaged the Cambodian government on a number of ECCC-related issues, Thomas Hammarberg. This letter is an interesting lesson in diplomacy in its own right. What possible positive effect, if any, was Youk Chhang hoping for? Was the letter a product of fear that Taksoe-Jensen may have forgotten that his fellow Scandinavian had done a significant amount of work to bring the UN-RGC negotiations to a fruitful completion? Or is it to "diplomatically" note to Taksoe-Jensen that he is not as good a negotiator as one of his predecessors and hope that this would be the catalyst of the proposed contact? Is it to amplify what an inferior negotiator Taksoe-Jensen is compared to Thomas Hammarberg by venturing an analysis that "[...] the difficulties [Hammarberg] faced in reaching an agreement with the government were much more severe than those faced today"?
Whichever of the above formed the foundation of Youk Chhang's letter, it is hardly an effective and diplomatically sagacious way of communicating with a diplomat, or anyone else, for that matter. We should all stick to what we do best, and let each other do our work unburdened by unwarranted, uncalled for suggestions, and perhaps take lessons in people's skills in the meantime.