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Tribunal Controversy Hurting Its Work: Rights Advocate

  • Men Kimseng
  • VOA Khmer

ECCC (Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia).

ECCC (Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia).

The current public dispute between the Khmer Rouge tribunal’s international prosecutor and two investigating judges is hindering its pursuit of justice for victims of the regime, a leading rights advocate said Monday.

Pung Chhiv Kek, founder of the rights group Licadho, told “Hello VOA” that disclosures made by the prosecutor, Andrew Cayley, regarding controversial Case 003 were “the right thing to do.”

Cayley issued a public statement claiming judges Siegfried Blunk and You Bunleang should do more investigation into the case, including interviewing its two unnamed suspects and visiting alleged crime sites.

The two judges rebuked his statement, saying he had exceeded his duties as prosecutor and divulged confidential information. Cayley has filed an official appeal to the judges’ order that he revoke portions of his statement.

Pung Chhiv Kek, however, said Monday that the tribunal was suffering from a lack of transparency and information, especially in its function to bring national reconciliation to victims of the Khmer Rouge.

“Many people who are Khmer Rouge victims want to get more information so that they can participate as civil party,” she said. “The victims have the right to know.”

The court’s work on cases 003 and 004, which Prime Minsiter Hun Sen opposes, has been shrouded in mystery, unlike the much-publicized work in Case 001, which tried prison chief Duch, and Case 002, which is moving toward trial for four jailed Khmer Rouge leaders.

Case 003 “had been in the dark, until it was broken out by Andrew Cayley,” Pung Chhiv Kek said. “They were not sure if the case was being looked into or not. We didn’t even know the names of the possible suspects. That was completely different from cases 001 and 002.”

Disagreement between the prosecution and investigating judges had been anticipated from the early stages of the tribunal, she said, but the current controversy could harm the mobilization of funds that the court needs to keep functioning.