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

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

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.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid