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UN Says Government Must Choose Investigating Tribunal Judge

Judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet was appointed as Reserve Co-Investigating Judge on 1 December 2010.

The Cambodia government has an obligation to approve or appoint an investigating judge at the Khmer Rouge tribunal, a UN official says.

The government’s Supreme Council of Magistracy has so far failed to replace German judge Siegfried Blunk, who resigned last year amid heavy criticism, citing political interference at the UN-backed court.

The UN appointed a reserve judge to the position, Laurent Kasper-Ansermet, but that appointment has not been confirmed, leading to ongoing concerns of political interference at the court.

“Cambodia is under an obligation to appoint the reserve international Co-Investigating Judge as the international Co-Investigating Judge when there is a vacancy,” Martin Nesirky, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said in an e-mail.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said Cambodia and the UN are cooperating “well” and that the Supreme Council of Magistracy is considering the replacement judge.

Meanwhile, the UN has appointed a new special expert for tribunal issues. David Scheffer, a former US ambassador at large for war crimes, will replace Clint Williamson.