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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid