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Illinois Professor Claims Khmer Rouge Tribunal is Incorruptible

A U.S. university professor expresses confidence in Cambodia's judges, and believes they will not be swayed by political influence and corruption in the trial of former Khmer Rouge leaders.

Speaking to reporters at the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh, Dr. Steven D. Roper, associate professor at the Department of Political Science of Eastern Illinois University, says that "no one is going to be able to bribe the Cambodian judges."

Cambodian judges and prosecutors in the Extraordinary Chambers of Cambodia have been criticized for being incompetent and bias towards the ruling party.

Opposition party legislator Eng Chhay Eang agrees that this trial will not become corrupted, but admitted that the trial could be subject to political influence.

"The judges and prosecutors were [only] selected to be within a political framework", said Eng Chhay.

The Khmer Rouge regime was blamed for the death of an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians between 1975-1979.

The U.S. says that it will not contribute to funding the Khmer Rouge Trial, unless the tribunal meets international standards.

The trial is expected to last 3 years and will likely cost more than $56 million. The Khmer Rouge tribunal is scheduled to start in 2007.