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Tribunal Investigating Judge Leaves After Indictments

Marcel Lemonde, co-investigating judge for the Khmer Rouge tribunal, gestures during an interview with the Associated Press at his office in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in 2007.

Now that indictments are in for four senior Khmer Rouge leaders, international tribunal investigating judge Marcel Lemonde will resign from the UN-backed court.

In an interview with VOA Khmer Friday, Lemonde said he hoped his successor, German judge Siegfried Blunk, would carry the tribunal forward for Cambodian victims of the Khmer Rouge.

“I take my retirement absolutely,” Lemonde told VOA Khmer. He would not only be retiring from the hybrid court, but from the French judiciary as well. However, he said he would not have an inactive retirement.

“I have many projects,” he said. “I have scheduled for a long time to do other things after Cambodia. I will be traveling, writing and I have scheduled as well a personal project. It will not be a passive retirement, you'll see.”

Lemonde joined the tribunal in the office of co-investigating judges in 2006. He had planned to stay three years, he said, but he ended up staying for four.

Lemonde's office oversaw the indictment and trial of Khmer Rouge torture chief Duch, as well as the investigations and indictments of four senior Khmer Rouge leaders on atrocity charges, including genocide.

He also sought, without the public support of his Cambodian counterpart, You Bunleng, the testimony of six senior government officials, who have all so far ignored the summonses. He also unilaterally began an investigation of five more unnamed Khmer Rouge suspects, following a motion by the international prosector that divided the court.

Still, Lemonde told reporters earlier this month he had been satisfied with his efforts in the tribunal and his partnership with You Bunleng.