News / Asia

Rights Groups Demand Action to Safeguard Khmer Rouge Tribunal

Cambodian and international judges stand during a swearing-in ceremony at a Cambodian court on the outskirts of Phnom Penh on June 13, 2007. Cambodian and international judges have agreed to the underlying rules for the special court to try former Khmer R
Cambodian and international judges stand during a swearing-in ceremony at a Cambodian court on the outskirts of Phnom Penh on June 13, 2007. Cambodian and international judges have agreed to the underlying rules for the special court to try former Khmer R

International human rights groups are calling for stronger action by the United Nations to prevent Cambodian government interference with the tribunal on Khmer Rouge war crimes.

The Open Society Justice Initiative, which has been monitoring the Khmer Rouge trials, said Tuesday that a "crisis of confidence" has been created by this week's announcement that a German investigating judge has resigned to protest official interference.

In a separate statement, Amnesty International said it is "vital" that the U.N. act to safeguard the future of the U.N.-backed tribunal.

In New York, a U.N. spokesman said the organization is working urgently to get a new judge in place to replace Siegfried Blunk, who submitted his resignation late last week.

Blunk is to be replaced by Laurent Kasper-Ansermet of Switzerland, who has already been named as the reserve co-investigating judge.

In announcing the judge's resignation, a U.N. spokesman said senior government officials, including Prime Minister Hun Sen, have repeatedly argued that the tribunal should not pursue any more cases. It pointed out that Blunk initiated contempt of court proceedings against Cambodia's information minister over one such remark in May.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has said he believes further prosecutions would be deeply divisive and could undermine the stability of the country.

In Phnom Penh Tuesday, the head of the Center for Cambodian Civic Education, Seng Theary, called on the United Nations to pressure the Cambodian government to support tribunal prosecutions.

"The U.N. needs to do a lot more than just pushing Blunk to resign, so this is a tiny step that does not affect the direction, and the direction is heading the wrong way," Theary said. "We need to change course, the United Nations needs to take the steering wheel, needs to pressure and leverage the government, its partner, and it has the ability to do so."

Blunk, a German, had been working alongside fellow investigating judge You Bunleng of Cambodia, to investigate two additional cases submitted by prosecutors. However, the two were accused of caving in to government pressure when they announced in April they had concluded their investigation in Case 003 without interviewing key witnesses or visiting suspected crime scenes.

There are also accusations that the judges have not thoroughly investigated Case 004. Several tribunal staff members resigned earlier this year to protest the handling of the cases, and Human Rights Watch called last week for both investigating judges to resign.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community 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.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid