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

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
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 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 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 US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
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 Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
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.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs