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Tribunal Rules Revamped for Expediency

More than two dozen internal rules for the Khmer Rouge tribunal were refined this week, further speeding tasks of the hybrid courts, officials announced Friday at the close of a biannual meeting.

In their fifth plenary session, judges and prosecutors decided on amendments to 27 of the internal rules of the court that “reflect efforts at harmonization,” in an effort “to streamline and expedite court proceedings,” the judicial officers said in a statement.

Tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath said the amendments were important for improving tribunal proceedings.

“National and international judges and prosecutors passed the amendments in some of the internal rules to work on advancing the success of their work in the court in the upcoming period,” he said.

The jurists met amid lingering concerns the tribunal could see its funding disappear if donors do not contribute more. But that has been made difficult, with allegations of corruption and mismanagement still dogging the court, even as its first trial, for prison chief Kaing Kek Iev, approaches.

Lath Ky, a coordinator at the tribunal for the rights group Adhoc, told VOA Khmer the results of the meeting were not completely acceptable.

“There are some negatives,” he said. “According to the results of the amendments, the Khmer Rouge tribunal does not encourage the participation of civil parties in tribunal process. I am very concerned about the participation of the civil parties, which is likely restricted or reduced.”

The new rules will hasten the accreditation of investigators and the calling of witnesses, among other streamlining procedures, including improving appeals to the Supreme Court Chamber of the special court.

The officers were also briefed on the “trial management challenges” of having so many victims filing for court proceedings, the statement said.