PHNOM PENH —
Local and international rights groups this week have welcomed new charges against two former Khmer Rouge cadre announced this week by the UN-backed tribunal.
Former naval commander Meas Muth and former district commander Im Chaem were named by international investigating judge Mark Harmon and charged with atrocity crimes on Tuesday.
The charges are an “encouraging signal” for nearly 2,000 people have applied to be civil party complainants in the two cases—003 and 004—involving the suspects, the International Federal for Human Rights said in a statement. But “serious concerns remain over attempts at political interference and lack of transparency” in the court proceedings, the group said.
The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee said in a statement it remains concerned over the relationship between the international and Cambodian offices of investigating judges, which have been at odds over cases 003 and 004 in the past.
Neither Im Chaem nor Meas Muth have been arrested, for example, despite the charges against them. CHRAC urged the two offices to cooperate to conclude the investigation and avoid political interference in court affairs.
Government spokesman Phay Siphan said the government does not interfere in the court’s work.
Meanwhile, tribunal spokesman Neth Pheaktra said that investigations into cases 003 and 004 continue.