News / Asia

    US Group Condemns UN Tribunal in Cambodia

    A tourist walks past photos of former prisoners displayed at Tuol Sleng genocide museum, a former Khmer Rouge prison known as S-21, in Phnom Penh.
    A tourist walks past photos of former prisoners displayed at Tuol Sleng genocide museum, a former Khmer Rouge prison known as S-21, in Phnom Penh.
    Robert Carmichael

    A US-based organization for survivors of the Khmer Rouge condemned the UN-backed war crimes tribunal on Thursday for preventing overseas Cambodians from taking part in the court’s controversial third case.

    Tribunal observers fear the court is trying to dismiss those cases in the face of stringent government opposition.

    The U.S.-based survivors group ASRIC says the war crimes tribunal in Phnom Penh will fail to deliver justice if it ditches its third and fourth cases that are opposed by the Cambodian government.

    The judges closed the investigation into case three about one month ago. But the international prosecutor, Andrew Cayley, later said the investigation into case three was deficient and said more work should be done. Since then, Cayley has been ordered by the court to retract the criticism but he says he will appeal the order.  

    ASRIC says the tribunal cannot decide on the merits of its third case without a proper investigation.

    Leakhena Nou is the founder of ASRIC, which is the only Khmer Rouge survivors’ organization in the United States.

    “Cambodian survivors and Cambodian society deserve better than this because they’ve suffered for 35 years and they have not had their day in court," she said. "So just prosecuting the five senior-most defendants is not enough if there is evidence that leads to other potential perpetrators, then the court officials need to do the right thing.”

    Cambodian students re-enact torture executed by the Khmer Rouge to mark the annual 'Day of Anger' at Choeung Ek, a former Khmer Rouge 'killing field' dotted with mass graves about nine miles (15 kilometers) south of Phnom Penh (File Photo)
    Cambodian students re-enact torture executed by the Khmer Rouge to mark the annual 'Day of Anger' at Choeung Ek, a former Khmer Rouge 'killing field' dotted with mass graves about nine miles (15 kilometers) south of Phnom Penh (File Photo)

    She says that in the past week more than 750 people have signed a petition calling on the UN-backed tribunal to investigate case three properly. She says the court, which has been largely silent on what is going on, needs to do better.

    “Well we want more transparency coming from the court. We want more up-to-date information," she said. "And we need the court to settle their differences both on the Cambodian side and the UN. So people just have to put their egos aside and focus on what’s best for the survivors as opposed to their own individual interests.”

    The UN-backed tribunal in Phnom Penh was set up to hear cases involving crimes committed by the Khmer Rouge during the movement’s rule of Cambodia between 1975 and 1979.

    Around two million people died during that four-year period.

    A total of 10 people were expected to be investigated in four cases.

    The court concluded the first case last year and convicted the former security chief of the Khmer Rouge of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The four elderly defendants in case two will go on trial next month.

    But the Cambodian government has expressed outright opposition to cases three and four. Prime Minister Hun Sen has said that additional prosecutions could destabilize the country’s security.

    Critics say that because of the hybrid nature of the tribunal - with Cambodian and international staff in parallel positions throughout its structure - the government opposition has significantly hampered the chances of a proper investigation.

    During the investigation into case three, the investigating judges decided not to release any information to the public. The secrecy meant victims of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia had no way of knowing whether the crimes being investigated affected them.

    International prosecutor Cayley has called on the court to extend the May 18 deadline for applications by six weeks. ASRIC, which registered dozens of civil parties for case two, supports that stance.

    The investigating judges who have authority over that decision have not commented on the request for an extension.

    You May Like

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    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.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.