News / Asia

Khmer Rouge Tribunal Judge Criticizes Media Coverage

Foreign judge Agnieszka Klonowiecka-Milart takes an oath during the swearing in ceremony at the royal palace in Phnom Penh in this July 3, 2006 file photo.
Foreign judge Agnieszka Klonowiecka-Milart takes an oath during the swearing in ceremony at the royal palace in Phnom Penh in this July 3, 2006 file photo.

A judge at the United Nations-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal in Cambodia has criticized media coverage of the ongoing war crimes trials after a series of reports that contained leaked confidential information.

A Supreme Court Chamber Judge for the Khmer Rouge tribunal in Cambodia had harsh words late Thursday for the media’s coverage of its proceedings.

The tribunal last year sentenced one former Khmer Rouge leader for crimes committed in the late 1970s and is in the process of trying four most senior leaders in a second case.

But there is much debate over whether further leaders will stand trial in a potential third and fourth case, details of which were earlier this year leaked to the media.

Judge Agnieszka Klonowiecka-Milart lashed out at recent media reporting on potential new defendants whose names were revealed in the leaked court documents.

Speaking at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand in Bangkok, she said what should be a confidential investigation is being hijacked by the media.

“Arguments are being held in the fora of the media as opposed to the courtroom. And I think…oh, and that the confidential documents are being leaked, whether under the sanction of contempt or not, let’s leave it aside, but it’s ignoble," the judge said. "Even if it was already in the public domain it was wrong that it so happened. And, it’s not a reason to put it again in the public domain.”

The tribunal’s Co-Investigating Judges this week instituted contempt proceedings against the Voice of America’s Khmer service for quoting from one leaked document and broadcasting its image.

The court document was leaked earlier this year and its contents had already been revealed in other media reports, but the court only named VOA in its contempt proceedings.

VOA issued a statement of concern about the potential “chilling effect” the threat could have on media coverage of the tribunal.

Anne Heindel is a legal advisor for the Documentation Center of Cambodia, an organization that collects evidence of crimes committed during the Khmer Rouge era.

She also spoke at the FCCT and said the leaks are driven by the tribunal’s practice of keeping information confidential throughout the investigations and trials, frustrating public awareness and adding to criticism of the court.

“Because people feel that cases three and four are not being adequately investigated, that there’s… the national government has said they don’t want these cases, the internationals really don’t want to fund the cases, there’s a feeling that they aren’t going to happen for political reasons and not so much for legal reasons," Heindel said.  "This has led to a lot of information coming out through irregular channels and not through the court.”

Since the tribunal’s founding, critics have accused it of being corrupt, too expensive and slow, as well as being vulnerable to political interference.

Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen, himself a former Khmer Rouge, has publicly stated there should be no further trials because they could divide the country and lead to civil war.

Led by Pol Pot, the ultra-communist Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. In its quest to form a rural utopia, as many as two million Cambodians, nearly a quarter of the population, were executed, starved, and worked to death.

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

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.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid