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New UN Prosecutor Faces Tough Challenges

The UN’s new prosecutor for the Khmer Rouge tribunal faces at least two challenges as he begins work at the court, observers of the hybrid court say.

For starters, Andrew Carley, a British prosecutor appointed to the UN side of the court this week, will have to work side by side with his counterpart, Chea Leang, to ensure adequate prosecution of four senior Khmer Rouge leaders currently in detention, said Long Panhavuth, a project officer for the Open Society Justice Institute, which oversees the tribunal.

“Both prosecutors have to unanimously agree and join shoulders to execute [the case], to ensure that the investigation in Case No. 002 is completed, good, adequate and with independence guaranteed,” he said.

Tribunal judges have said the end of this year they will conclude their investigation of the four leaders, Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith, in a case that promises to be more complicated that the trial of Kaing Kek Iev, or Duch, which wrapped up last week.

Carley, who has not yet arrived, will also have to face the question of further indictments, a position promoted by his predecessor, Robert Petit, who left earlier this year.

The question of further indictments beyond the five cadre now in custody divided the prosecution office, with judge Chea Leang maintaining the same position of Prime Minister Hun Sen, that the current caseload is enough and that further arrests could lead to instability.

Hun Sen reiterated this warning Thursday, saying he would prefer to see the court fail than have the country “fall into war.”

A coalition of civil society groups said Friday they were not concerned that proceedings of the Khmer Rouge tribunal have the potential of igniting civil war in Cambodia.