News / Asia

    Analysts: UN-Cambodia Trial Agreement Positive Step

    FILE - Cambodian villagers line up at an entrance before the final statements from Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan at the U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal in Phnom Penh.
    FILE - Cambodian villagers line up at an entrance before the final statements from Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan at the U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal in Phnom Penh.
    A new commitment from the U.N. and Cambodia to continue their support for the Khmer Rouge genocide trials is being called a positive sign by analysis, including some who still have reservations about the likely outcome of the trials.

    In a meeting last week between the U.N.’s top legal diplomat, Miguel de Serpa Soares, and Cambodian Cabinet Minister Sok An, the two sides agreed to continue to fund the court and cooperate on conducting trials.
     
    The U.N.-backed court has faced ongoing financial woes in recent months as it seeks to conclude the initial trial of two aging Khmer Rouge leaders.

    The Cambodian side of the hybrid court has faced ongoing criticism of mismanagement, corruption and political interference. The court itself has handed down only one conviction since its inception in 2006.

    John Ciorciari, a professor of public policy at the University of Michigan and co-author of a new book, "Hybrid Justice," says the agreement should restore confidence from international donors and is a sign for the tribunal to move on to other cases.

    “The timing is perfect for both sides to cooperate now because there is something that both want and that is for the court's next phase of operation to go smoothly, the phase leading to the first verdict in case 002,” he said.

    But Peter Maguire, author of “Facing Death in Cambodia,” says that while the agreement is a positive development, he is cautious about the prospects for further trials because of the age of the elderly Khmer Rouge leaders.

    "I think it’s a very positive thing and you know if the U.N. can move faster, they can at least complete parts of these trials within the lifetime of the defendants. As far as further trials, I am not optimistic,” he said.

    Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, both in their 80s, are the only senior Khmer Rouge leaders alive and considered fit to stand trial.

    The first phase of the trial, dealing with the forced evacuation of Phnom Penh in April 1975, concluded in October. Both defendants deny the charges against them and a verdict is not expected until later this year. The scope of the second phase has not yet been determined.

    Youk Chhang, Executive Director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, said it is not clear how future cases will go forward.

    "The investigations seem to be getting very long and without a clear strategy to finish when," said Chhang. "That is the tricky part. Even though both sides are now in agreement to work together, this still remains to be worked out between the two parties. So I urged [the] two parties to quickly establish an exit strategy as soon as it can be done.”

    Sum Rithy, one of the rare survivors from a notorious Khmer Rouge prison, says he still holds out hope that justice will be done.

    “As I have said for a long time, the process of trying Khmer Rouge leaders will not be inactive or die away, "said Rithy. "The U.N. and Cambodia are making efforts to find justice for the victims of the Khmer Rouge regime.”

    As many as two million Cambodians died from starvation, overwork and executions during the four-year rule of the Khmer Rouge, which attempted to create an agrarian communist utopia.

    The group's leader, Pol Pot, died in 1998 and co-founder Ieng Sary died earlier this year.

    Former Khmer Rouge prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, better known as "Duch," was sentenced last year to life in prison for his role in killing more than 14,000 while running the Tuol Sleng torture and execution center in Phnom Penh.

    This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Khmer service.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: bbun from: Canada
    February 03, 2014 7:01 PM
    In the name of Cambodia pple I would like to thank UN for making great effort in trying to find justice for all Cambodia people.With out your assistance Cambodia will never unearth those criminals who are still in power today. Cambodian has suffer ed many decades now and demoncracy is getting better every but very slowly in progress... Hopefully one day all Khmer will united again as it was the rein of Jayavaraman VII if it was able back then then it would be very possible in our modern time...Due to our corrupted, selfishness, careless and shareless leaders, Khmer lost great territories its pride!
    But this young generation has inverted from great desparation to a great hope for better futur...
    Thank to all nations around the globe for helping Cambodia to find real demoncratic government one day in the near future...
    Glod bless Cambodia.
    BB

    by: Bob from: Canada
    February 03, 2014 4:10 PM
    Thank you Un. You are the hope and trusted orgsnization for the Cambodia people in order to find real justicr for them.
    Thz

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora