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

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Video Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions 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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs