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

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    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-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora