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UN Chief Says Two Controversial Tribunal Cases Moving Forward

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, center, talks with Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, left, upon his arrival at Cambodian Council Of Minister in Phnom Penh, file photo.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says two contentious cases at the Khmer Rouge tribunal could make big strides next year.

Cases 003 and 004 would require further indictments by the UN-backed court and have been strongly opposed by Prime Minister Hun Sen and other key government officials, and some critics worry they may never be completed.

But in an October speech, posted on the UN’s website this week, Ban said investigations into those cases continue and indictments or dismissals are expected by the end of next year.

Investigations into the two respective cases would be “concluded by the end of March and June of 2015,” Ban said. “Closing orders with indictments and/or dismissal orders are expected to be issued by, at the latest, the end of September and December 2015.”

The tribunal’s international investigating judge is examining more than 10 crime sites for Case 003 and some 55 crime scenarios for Case 004, and has already interviewed more than 300 witnesses and undertaken more than 80 field missions, Ban said.

Tribunal spokesman Lars Olsen told VOA Khmer Friday that decisions regarding the two cases are expected next year, but, he warned, “things can change.”

Chhang Youk, head of the Documentation Center for Cambodia, said he worried whether the cases could reach trial and noted that the investigation is only being undertaken by “one side” of the court—the international.

Meanwhile, at least one suspect in Case 004, Im Cheam, has refused to answer court summons, so far without repercussion, leading some to worry the two cases will not be completed.