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Tribunal Observer To Speak Before International Criminal Court


Long Panhavuth, a program officer at the Open Society Justice Initiative. (Photo: Lim Sothy/VOA Khmer)

Long Panhavuth, a program officer at the Open Society Justice Initiative. (Photo: Lim Sothy/VOA Khmer)

Long Panhavuth told VOA Khmer the court is unlikely to launch investigations into similar crimes in the Asia Pacific.

Long Panhavuth, a long-term observer of the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal for the Open Society Justice Initiative, is preparing to speak before the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands.

Cambodia is a party to the ICC, which was formed 11 years ago, mainly to investigate atrocity crimes in Africa. Long Panhavuth told VOA Khmer the court is unlikely to launch investigations into similar crimes in the Asia Pacific.

Nevertheless, civil society groups in Cambodia continue to document human rights abuses in Cambodia.

The ICC has procedures for this that many groups must learn, he added.

NGOs are best suited for the timeliness of investigations, but they must also understand the ICC parameters.

Meanwhile, ICC is “ignoring the region,” he said, so more assistance and cooperation is needed.

That could include desk officers for the region, to coordinate with local rights groups, or financial support for documentation or fact-finding, he said.

Some complaints, such as those made recently against Cambodia’s ruling elite, should have standing at the court, but the ICC has been late to respond or to determine whether they meet those parameters, he said.

More work is needed, he said, because “justice delayed is justice denied.”

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