News / Asia

Key Prosecutor Quits UN-Backed Cambodia War Crimes Tribunal

International prosecutor Andrew Cayley (2010 file photo)International prosecutor Andrew Cayley (2010 file photo)
x
International prosecutor Andrew Cayley (2010 file photo)
International prosecutor Andrew Cayley (2010 file photo)
Robert Carmichael
The international prosecutor at Cambodia’s embattled Khmer Rouge tribunal has quit. The resignation of Andrew Cayley, who was appointed to the post in December 2009, comes as the court prepares closing arguments in its first mini-trial of two surviving Khmer Rouge leaders.
 
British national Andrew Cayley told VOA that it was no secret he was planning to resign this year, but said he was leaving now for personal and professional reasons. He did not elaborate and said his resignation will not affect the ongoing prosecutions under his authority.
 
Cayley’s departure, which is effective September 16, comes at a crucial time in the court’s prosecution of two surviving Khmer Rouge leaders: Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan.
 
Nuon Chea was Pol Pot’s deputy, while Khieu Samphan was head of state of the regime that is believed responsible for the deaths of two million people between 1975 and 1979.
 
The trial of the elderly defendants - known as Case 002 - is so complex that the court divided it into a number of smaller trials. The first of those mini-trials concluded in July. Since then the prosecution, the defense and the lawyers for the civil parties have been preparing their closing submissions.
 
All are scheduled to file their submissions later this month, with the court due to hear arguments in October. A judgment is expected next year.
 
Cayley said that process, as far as the prosecution was concerned, remained on track.
 
“What I’ve done in the past month - which I undertook to the UN to do - is I’ve put in place measures basically that the case will continue to a proper conclusion," said Cayley. "Our written submissions are almost complete and will be ready to be filed on the 26th of September. So yes, it’s not an ideal situation, but certainly the office is well prepared for my departure. And the office is not just about me - it’s about a whole team of people working together, and me departing is not going to affect the quality of the work.”
 
Cayley’s departure also comes as the court is dealing with a strike by Cambodian staff. They walked out a week ago after having not been paid since May. The strike could delay the court’s efforts to hear closing submissions by the end of October.
 
Under the rules of this hybrid tribunal, the Cambodian government is responsible for finding the funds to pay national staff - but it says it cannot afford to do so.
 
The United Nations’ role is to fund the international side. But in recent weeks U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has warned that the court could collapse, and asked countries to donate the three million dollars needed to keep the national side running until the end of the year.
 
Although salaries for international staff are not affected, Cayley says the funding crisis has made the lives of his Cambodian co-workers difficult.
 
“Looking at my national colleagues, it’s not just critical for the functioning of the court; it’s actually critical to their lives," said Cayley. "These are people who haven’t been paid for several months, and they have families that need to be supported. That’s why I think it needs to be resolved as quickly as possible.”
 
Despite the litany of problems that have affected the tribunal, Cayley believes it will deliver some measure of justice for the Cambodian people.
 
“Frankly, actually, I don’t really leave here with any disappointments. You know, the court is what it is," said Cayley. "It has the challenges that it has. It’s still here - and hopefully will be here to finish the work that it has left. I hope at the end of it all the Cambodian people find some level of relief and satisfaction in what the court has produced and will produce.”
 
Cayley’s replacement is U.S. lawyer Nicholas Koumjian, who has worked previously at the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Koumjian is scheduled to arrive in Cambodia next month.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More