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Cambodian Tribunal Investigator Handed Appeals Court Job

The Cambodian investigating judge for the Khmer Rouge tribunal has been appointed to the top position in the Appeals Court, creating a potential snag in the proceedings to try former leaders of the regime.

Skeptics say You Bunleng will not be able to fulfill roles in both the Appeals and special tribunal courts.

In a statement issued Thursday, You Bunleng said he was honored by his "recent promotion" and that he would continue to serve the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, the official name of the tribunal.

"As long as the ECCC considers my presence to be essential, it is my duty to continue," You Bunleng said.

The Appeals Court position opened earlier this week when its former head, Ly Vuochleng, was ousted following allegations of corruption. She herself is being investigated by authorities for allegedly taking bribes to release two men convicted by lower courts of sex trafficking.

The Appeals Court chief occupies a prestigious position with more job security.

You Bunleng said he would use the posting to continue improving Cambodia's judicial system.

"The Appeals Court, which is one of the highest courts in Cambodia, is charged with the important duty of ensuring uniformity in interpreting and enforcing [Cambodian] laws," he said in his statement. "My experience, particularly from the ECCC, will enable me to help reform and strengthen the judicial process and the enforcement of the rule of law in Cambodia, which is a long-term national priority."