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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs