News / Asia

    Deadline Closes for Applications in War Crimes’ Third Case in Cambodia

    The officers of U.N.-backed genocide tribunal meet high school students at Ek Phnom district in Battambang province, as they distribute recent verdict books of Khmer Rouge leader Kaing Guek Eav, northwest of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, May 5, 2011
    The officers of U.N.-backed genocide tribunal meet high school students at Ek Phnom district in Battambang province, as they distribute recent verdict books of Khmer Rouge leader Kaing Guek Eav, northwest of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, May 5, 2011

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Robert Carmichael

    Wednesday was the final day for victims of the Khmer Rouge to apply for civil party status in the court’s much-criticized third case. But tribunal observers and victims’ rights activists fear Case Three is on the verge of being shut down.

    Less than three weeks ago, the investigating judges at the war crimes tribunal here announced they had closed their file in the court’s third case against former senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge.

    Cambodian news media have identified the suspects in the case as two former high-ranking Khmer Rouge military officers.

    The tribunal is investigating crimes against humanity and genocide in about 2 million Cambodian deaths from starvation, overwork and executions during the Khmer Rouge's reign between 1975 and 1979.

    The tribunal’s third case is highly controversial, mainly because the Cambodian government has long said it will permit only the first two cases to proceed to trial. That raised a storm of criticism over allegations the government was meddling in what is meant to be an independent judicial process.

    The controversy has not stopped there. Recent comments by the international prosecutor Andrew Cayley indicate that the investigating judges’ work in Case Three was deficient. Last week Cayley said Case Three needed much more work.

    “If you’re asking me how much more investigation needs to be done, I would simply use the words 'a significant amount' of investigation is still left to be done in that case,” said Cayley.

    The controversy in Case Three goes further still.

    The Khmer Rouge tribunal was the first of its kind to allow victims of specific crimes - known as civil parties - to participate.

    Nearly 100 people took part in Case One, and around 4,000 have registered for Case Two, in which the Khmer Rouge’s four senior surviving leaders will be tried for genocide and other crimes.

    But the investigating judges did not release any information about Case Three, which meant people could not know whether the crimes under investigation affected them.

    Just over a week ago, Cayley published that information, a move that prompted the international investigating judge Siegfried Blunk to order Cayley to retract his statement, which also pointed out deficiencies in the investigating judges’ casework.

    Blunk on Wednesday gave Cayley three days to comply, but has not specified what will happen if he fails to do meet that deadline.

    Clair Duffy is a tribunal monitor with the Open Society Justice Initiative, an organization funded by U.S. billionaire George Soros. She said Cayley was merely doing his job.

    “The international co-prosecutor’s acted independently and carried out his legal duty in identifying major gaps in the Case Three investigation, and in seeking further investigative acts,” she said.

    Duffy also said this episode could damage the tribunal. “The potential message of this kind of action is that those seeking to act independently of political will, and to act with integrity in the pursuit of justice, will be laying themselves open to criminal sanction.”

    The investigating judges’ silence has meant that very few people even know about the case. Around 300 managed to apply by the 4 p.m. deadline on Wednesday.

    Blunk’s office already has rejected at least two, one of whom is New Zealand Olympic rower Rob Hamill.

    His brother, Kerry Hamill, was abducted by the Khmer Rouge from his yacht off the Cambodian coast in 1978, taken to S-21 prison in Phnom Penh, and tortured before being executed.

    Rob Hamill was a civil party in Case One, in which the former commandant of S-21 was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity. He also was accepted as a civil party in Case Two.

    But the investigating judges turned him down for Case Three, a decision Hamill says is “incomprehensible and schizophrenic” given that one of those thought to be involved in Case Three was the head of the Khmer Rouge’s navy.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora