Home > Khmer Rouge, Local News > UN denies interfering in Cambodian war crimes tribunal cases

UN denies interfering in Cambodian war crimes tribunal cases

Phnom Penh – The United Nations Friday rejected allegations it had
interfered with investigations at the UN-backed war crimes tribunal in
Cambodia or put any pressure on the investigating judges.

The
allegations come amid fears the tribunal is looking to shut down two
cases – known as Case Three and Case Four – in the face of government
opposition. Prime Minister Hun Sen has long said he would not permit
either case to go to trial, citing a risk of civil war.

Late
last month the investigating judges closed Case Three, but within days
international prosecutor Andrew Cayley criticized the investigation as
deficient.

Cayley said the judges had failed even to question
the suspects in Case Three, did not investigate numerous crime sites
and did not interview a number of witnesses.

On Wednesday the
president of the Cambodian Center of Human Rights, Ou Virak,
questioned the work of the investigating judges, claiming the actions
of the UN’s judge, Siegfried Blunk, ‘raise the question of whether the
United Nations has conceded to the demands of the (Cambodian
government) and is now acting to prevent any further cases from going
to trial.’

In emailed comments Friday, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said that was not the case.

‘Neither the secretary-general nor the United Nations Secretariat
plays any role in the independent judicial process before the ECCC
[Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, the tribunal’s
official name],’ Nesirky said.

‘And I can confirm, in response
to your question, that no instructions have been issued by any United
Nations officials to any judge or other official at the (tribunal) to
prevent Cases 003 and 004 moving forward as part of this independent
judicial process,’ he said.

Cases Three and Four involve five
former Khmer Rouge who are thought responsible for tens of thousands
of deaths during the movement’s rule of Cambodia between 1975 and 1979.

The court’s second case, against four senior surviving leaders of the movement, is scheduled to begin June 27.

In its first case, the tribunal last year convicted the Khmer Rouge’s
head of security, Comrade Duch, of war crimes and crimes against
humanity.

Case Four is still with the investigating judges’ office, which is led jointly by Blunk and Cambodian judge You Bunleng.

More than 2 million people are thought to have died during the Khmer Rouge’s rule.

Monsters and Critics

Categories: Khmer Rouge, Local News
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