Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Hope is not a plan

Today's Cambodia Daily has a follow up piece from the POV of the former Khmer Rouge. The view from the people they interviewed at least, seems to be that there will be no trial until everyone who could possibly be tried is long dead. This is one in a long line of articles from a new Daily reporter, Erika Kinetz. Rumor has it she used to work for the New York Times and is now the beat reporter for the Trials. The former KR may not believe anything will happen, in the trial but the Daily seems to have become a believer.

Nice 'sound bite' from the spokesman at the end of the piece. We better get used to that kind of statement from everyone at the ECCC during the next months. Lots of hopeful thoughts and very little detail.

KR Affiliates Not Surprised by Tribunal Holdup

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

By Thet Sambath and Erika Kinetz

Former Khmer Rouge soldiers and relatives of the regime's leaders said Monday that they were not surprised by the tribunal's failure this weekend to adopt crucial procedural rules, which are necessary for the trials to proceed.

Ven Ra, niece of the late Khmer Rouge military commander Ta Mok, said Saturday's development reinforced her belief that a tribunal would be impossible.

"The court's process is going too slowly," said Ven Ra, also chief of the SRP in Pailin. "It will be delayed until all former Khmer Rouge leaders die naturally," she said.

The rules, which were slated to be approved on Saturday, govern the roles of judges, prosecutors, defense lawyers, victims, suspects and witnesses in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. Their adoption was delayed due largely to a split over how to integrate Cambodian and international law, tribunal officials said. ECCC officials have said they anticipate that first indictments could still be handed down early next year.

Ieng Vuth, deputy governor of Pailin municipality and son of former Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary, said the tribunal should not go ahead until both sides are in agreement.

"Let [the two sides] discuss among themselves until they understand each other," recommended Ieng Vuth, whose father has been fingered by some observers as a potential candidate for prosecution. "Untac did not understand the Khmer and forced us [to join the national election in 1993] and then we had a war again."

Lath Nhoung, a former Khmer Rouge soldier, also said he did not believe the trial will ever happen. "The court's process is to show international that they are working to try [the Khmer Rouge leaders], but actually they will delay the process until they all die," he claimed.

ECCC spokesman Peter Foster said both sides of the court are committed to adopting a set of rules that respects Cambodian law and meets international standards. "We would not be here if this was going to be nothing but a 'show trial,'" Foster said. "The expectation of the donors and the mandate of the court is to ensure this process meets international standards of justice from beginning to end," he said.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Secret Plots

Here is the first of what will likely be many accusations that the hand of the government may be involved in the failure of the court to adopt its rules last week. A story entitled Hen Sen's Hand in the Trial Delays? speculates that there may be more to the Cambodian Bar's actions that just a demand for the removal of the ECCC's Defence Support Office, some highlights;
...objections to the IBA's involvement in the Cambodian tribunal has given rise to speculation that Ky Tech's motives may not be his alone, or that of the CBA. After all, the country's justice system is known for its questionable record on upholding human rights, being heavily politicised and even accused of corruption.

‘'The CBA president has become vocal to a degree that it is hard to believe that he is saying these things without political backing,'' Theary Seng, executive director of the Centre for Social Development (CSD), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), said in a telephone interview from Phnom Penh. ‘'It seems to be aimed to either slow the process, or even stall it. This is worrying.''

Cambodian human rights groups are equally alarmed, more so because they are aware of who Ky Tech's political patrons are. ‘'There can be some political influence behind this statement,'' Ny Chakrya, a ranking member of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association, a Phnom Penh-based NGO, told IPS. ‘'Some CBA lawyers work closely with the CPP (Cambodian People's Party). Ky Tech is pro-CPP.''
No suprise that the NGOs are sounding the alarm bell, and no question that much of the Cambodian Bar is made up of CPP party members. This is probably one of the main reasons why the formation of an independent Defence office of the ECCC was so important to the UN.
....Such allegations directed at the governing CPP, led by Prime Minister Hun Sen, are not the first pointing to its attempts to scupper a legal process that Cambodian civilians have been yearning for. The increasingly authoritarian Hun Sen has been a serial opponent of the special tribunal ever since the United Nations began talks with the Phnom Penh regime over a decade ago to create the ECCC.

Hun Sen's sensitivity towards the ECCC was on display in May, when he lashed out at human rights groups who called into question Cambodia's choice of judges to sit on a tribunal that stands out -- unlike the ones for Rwanda and former Yugoslavia -- in having a combination of local and international jurists to be part of the entire legal process.

He ‘'likened his critics to perverted sex-crazed animals, among other things,'' the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission, a regional rights lobby, said on the occasion. Human rights groups were not happy at the choice of Ney Thol, an army general and president of Cambodia's military court, being among the 17 local jurists for the ECCC. He has a record of denying the right for lawyers of the accused to call their own witnesses and to cross-examine the prosecution's witnesses
This sort of mixes up a few of Hun Sen's quotes- not all of which were even directed at the ECCC. In fact Hen Sen, despite his frequent rants and questionable decisions (banning 3G phones for 10 years to save the morality of the nation?), was one of the ones to ask the UN to come and get involved in this process in the first place. There is even a statement of support from Hun Sen in the opening of the ECCC information booklet. But the PM has certainly kept his distance from the court since it opened.
What is more, a question still hangs in the air over Hun Sen if his name is dragged into the tribunal's proceedings, which formally got underway this year after years of delay. He was a member of the Khmer Rouge till he defected to join forces with the Vietnamese troops that drove out Pol Pot, the leader of that brutal regime, from power in 1979.
Well this certainly is a question to consider. I am not sure if Hen Sen has ever been mentioned as a 'senior leader' or 'most responsible', but he was probably high enough in rank to end up as a witness of some kind. Still if the ECCC is serious about getting '5-10' people prosecuted, it will probably have to stick to cases that do not involve the PM- at least for now. But as the Co-Prosecutors keep saying, they will follow the evidence where ever it takes them....

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Bad Judgment

Here it is. The result of tens of thousands of dollars spent and a weeks worth of meetings. A two page statement pledging.... to have more meetings. They point out some of the areas of pretty serious disagreement, but don't bother trying to find any words about areas were they agreed in this statement.

Phnom Penh, 25 November 2006

We wish to acknowledge above all the importance of these proceedings for the people of Cambodia. We also understand the heavy responsibility we have to do our utmost to move forward with this important work.

As national and international judicial officers we have met in Plenary Session over the past six days. All of us have a strong determination to succeed in our goal of establishing a firm foundation for the court. No one wishes to delay these long-awaited trials.

Nevertheless, we regret to announce that we have been unable to complete our task of adopting Internal Rules for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.

The rules we have been working on are necessary as they will provide the procedural underpinning required for every phase of the proceedings – from preliminary investigation, to judicial investigation, to trial and through appeal. They also delineate the roles of all parties, the co-prosecutors, defence and victims.

The Draft we considered had over 110 rules with hundreds of sub-rules. These draft rules were posted on our website and submissions were invited. We received numerous comments and suggestions from NGOs, legal scholars and other interested observers from across the world.

During this Plenary Session we discussed general matters and had time to focus in detail on about a third of these Draft Rules. We have come to realise that the task we were given to achieve in one week was far too ambitious.

We have also become aware that we have some basic differences. In particular, we have found that we currently have substantive disagreement about several key issues. Amongst these are:
  • How to integrate Cambodian law and international standards;
  • The role of the Defence Support Unit including the issue of how defence lawyers will be qualified;
  • The role of the Co-Prosecutors and its impact on the voting procedure;
  • How the Extraordinary court will operate within the Cambodian court structure.
Additionally we have not had an adequate opportunity to address in detail some of the vital issues before the court, in particular the role of victims and civil party rights.

A committee will continue to work between now and the next Plenary Session in an effort to find a path toward resolving the differences.

Although this continues to be a challenging process, all judicial officers are determined to do our best to resolve these issues, if at all possible. We recognise how important our work is in bringing justice to the Cambodian people for crimes committed almost thirty years ago in order to help to continue the process of ensuring social harmony.

Friday, November 24, 2006

The End of the Line

Well the word is out and the press conference planned for Saturday has been cancelled. Apparently a statement of some kind will be issued instead.

That makes it pretty clear that the problem between the international and national judges went far beyond defence issues. For them to cancel a day before the conference, knowing that press may have flown in just for the opportunity to pose questions to the judges, must mean things are pretty desperate.

Tomorrow's statement should be a very interesting read.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

More Arguments

This should give everyone a good flavour of the tense atmosphere that must be in the room this week. From the Cambodia Daily;
Bar Threatens Lawyers Over ECCC Training

By Erika Kinetz and Prak Chan Thul

The president of the Cambodian Bar Association on Wednesday threatened to take legal action against anyone who participates in a five-day training course on international criminal law that is being offered by the Defense Office of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia and the International Bar Association. "We are being violated by the foreign lawyers," Cambodian Bar Association President Ky Tech said in an interview.

He said the legal training violated Cambodian law and he described Cambodian lawyers who have cooperated with foreigners in setting up the training as ''extremists." "We will have measures against lawyers who have conspired to violate the law," Ky Tech warned. His remarks mark an escalation of a growing turf war between the Cambodian Bar Association and the Defense Office of the ECCC.
Tough words- hardly a spirit of cooperation and friendship. And difficult to understand how training courses could be a violation of Cambodian Law. But comments like these make critics of the Court even more confident in their decisions not to back it. This from the US Ambassador;
The virulence of the debate has caught the attention of the US government which has not yet funded the tribunal but may do so. The US Congress has been reluctant to allow funding for the tribunal, on the grounds that it might not measure up to international standards of justice. "We have concerns about the virulence of some of the comments by the Cambodian Bar Association," US Ambassador Joseph Mussomeli said Wednesday. "We know the bar president has connections to the government," Mussomeli said. "It's worrying since he has spoken in such a strident manner. As we work to find ways to fund directly the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, these sort of comments are not helpful.
And this comment from the Public Affairs Officer has "we are in trouble but don't want to talk about it", written all over it;
Peter Foster, public affairs officer at the ECCC, said the exact relationship between the bar and the principle defender's office, including issues relevant to the now controversial training session, were being discussed at the plenary session of the ECCC. The session was convened Monday to ratify the court's internal rules. Those rules govern the roles of judges, prosecutors, defense lawyers, suspects and witnesses appearing in the trials. The bar association, he added, has been invited back to the plenary session today for continued discussion. He declined to comment further on the controversy.
The true measure of the problems will probably be evident by what happens on Saturday. There is a joint press conference planned to announce the final rules. If that is cancelled or changed we will know how bad things really are.

Quite a change from the positive meetings held in July.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Its all good

Some optimistic news from a visiting US university professor. Its good to hear some positive news about the trial, but his assumptions seem a tad too optimistic. The quote from Eng Chhay Eang seems more realistic when he warns that "the trial could be subjected to political influences'. That could certainly be source of the conflict reportedly taking place at the judicial meetings this week.

Illinois Professor Claims Khmer Rouge Trial is Incorruptible

Chun Sakada
VOA Khmer

A U.S. university professor expresses confidence in Cambodia's judges, and believed that they will not be swayed by political influence and corruption in the trial of former Khmer Rouge leaders

Speaking to reporters at the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh, Dr. Steven D. Roper, associate professor at the Department of Political Science of Eastern Illinois University, says that "no one is going to be able to bribe the Cambodian judges".

Cambodian judges and prosecutors in the Extraordinary Chambers of Cambodia have been criticized for being incompetent and bias towards the ruling party.

Opposition party legislator Eng Chhay Eang agrees that this trial will not become corrupted, but admitted that the trial could be subjected to political influences. "The judges and the prosecutors were [only] selected to be within a political framework", said Eng Chhay.

Cambodia Center for Human Rights' (CCHR) director Kem Sokha says that the trial might be more politically inclined than be unfair, due to corruption.

The Khmer Rouge regime was blamed for the death of an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians between 1975-1979.

The U.S. says that it will not contribute to funding the Khmer Rouge Trial, unless the tribunal meets international standards.

The trial is expected to last 3 years and will likely cost more than $56 millions. The Khmer Rouge tribunal is expected to start in 2007.

Is the Court About to Collapse??

Could be.

According to some well informed sources the Plenary session ended in chaos today when the senior international Judge, S. Cartwright, circulated a letter to all the Cambodian judges on behalf of all the international judges. The letter accused the Cambodians of refusing to respect international standards and of refusing to work with their international colleagues. Worse, the letter threatened to inform the UN that further progress was not possible and that the UN should withdraw its funds and staff from the process. Unknown if this 'letter' is going to be released to the press- but if true, it could signal the total collapse of the court.

What a tragedy for the people of Cambodia. Let's hope they can resolve things before its too late.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

All Quiet

No news from the court officials conference, but plenty of rumours flying around.

Word has it that the NGO community was none too happy about the Cambodian Bar Association being included and taking up time in their presentation period on Monday- especially since they were taking opposing positions to the NGOs on defence issues. Word also has it that the mood in the conference from the Cambodian judges is not too welcoming towards the Principle Defender either. With the Bar Association and the Cambodian judges all rumoured to have connections to the ruling CPP, talk is bound to be about the start of long feared political influence being applied.

Barely a mention in the Daily. The South Korean visit, and the rather bazaar request for Cambodia to mediate between North and South Korea, appears to have drawn all the press attention this week.

Monday, November 20, 2006

A picture tells a thousand words

The UNAKRT site seems to have decided to head off any critics of the detention center by posting a photo of it on the site. Take a look here and see if you think its like a 150.00 a night hotel (as was reported in some local press)!

Global Policy Forum

There was a very good article on the court published in LeMonde in October. Global Policy Forum has the English translation now posted on its site, along with quite a few other background articles on the court going back to 2004. Check it out.

BBC News

BBC Online has a nice little piece on this weeks court officials meeting. There was also a radio story on the 1200 news on BBC 1000 in Phnom Penh, though I have not been able to find a link to the audio file just yet.

Officials mull Khmer Rouge trials
Cambodian and international judges are meeting to discuss the rules to be applied during the trials of the former leaders of the Khmer Rouge.

The session, planned to last a week, has been preceded by discussions over the role of foreign lawyers and public participation in the process.

The issue of whether the defendants can get a fair trial has also been debated.

About two million people died during the years that the Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia in the 1970s under Pol Pot.

Which of the former Khmer Rouge leaders will be prosecuted first may be announced before the end of the year.

The UN-backed trials are due to start in 2007, and could mean that surviving leaders of the brutal Maoist regime - some of whom are still living freely - will be called to the dock.

Defendants vilified

The Khmer Rouge trials process started four months ago, but Cambodian and international legal officials still have to agree on many of the procedures for the trials.

Differences in legal systems have to be addressed - not just between local and international laws, but among the various legal codes used by the international officials.

Already the draft rules have been criticised. Human rights groups have warned that the trials could be swamped by a flood of lawsuits from members of the public.

The Cambodian Bar Association has said it will try to block foreign lawyers from representing defendants.

And the principal defender has raised doubts over whether a fair trial is possible for men who have been vilified publicly for more than two decades.

The international co-prosecutor, Robert Petit, says compromise is the only solution.

"We have to adapt the law to our mandate. We have a three year budget, we have some very specific crimes that are by nature extremely complex and difficult to deal with, and we have to adapt those rules and that law so that we can fulfil that mandate," Mr Petit said.

The Pol Pot regime saw up to two million people executed or starved or overworked to death between 1975 and 1979.

Pol Pot, the founder and leader of the Khmer Rouge, died in a camp along the border with Thailand in 1998.

Other key figures have also died. Ta Mok - the regime's military commander and one of Pol Pot's most ruthless henchmen - died on 21 July 2006.

The BBC's Guy De Launey in Phnom Penh says this week's meeting could go a long way to making sure the Khmer Rouge Trials are meaningful to the survivors.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Opening Day

The ECCC judges have all arrived in town and are staying in the Raffles Hotel. Sounds like a nice way to spend a week but I am sure they will have a very difficult time finalizing the internal rules to have any time to enjoy the hotel- or the city. One newcomer to the group will be Judge Cartwright from New Zealand, who was not present during the original swearing-in ceremony back in July. It will be interesting to see if they decide to give her a public swearing-in ceremony as part of the week's events.

The press have been invited to attend the opening session on Monday and civil society groups have been asked to give their input on the draft internal rules on Monday afternoon. The afternoon session should be the one with the fireworks as among the groups invited to give input is the Cambodian bar.

Don't let me be misunderstood

Another article on the court this time from AFP appears to be a result of the same interview which resulted in the story from the Cambodia Daily which I talked about in the Court Eats its Own post below. AFP seemed to have picked up a different message however, with the complaints from court officials being squarely focused on the lack of funds for outreach, rather than the efforts of the Public Affairs office up to this point.

More interesting are the comments from DC CAM's Youk Chhang who suggests that most people in Cambodia could not really care less about how the court works, all they want to hear about is who is going to be prosecuted and when. That is probably an observation that applies beyond Cambodia as well. Outside of legal researchers and historians, few are going to care much about procedures and rules, no matter how unique or how important they are. Who is going to be prosecuted and when will it happen? Those are the questions that the Court Officials will have to deal with every time they step out of their offices.
KRouge tribunal misunderstood, officials say
By Seth Meixner

PHNOM PENH (AFP) - Debate begins this week on internal rules to shape Cambodia's Khmer Rouge trials, but some fear the tribunal's efforts are being undermined by a misunderstanding of what the court seeks to do.

Foreign judges Monday will begin discussing with their Cambodian counterparts the more than 100 tribunal regulations seeking to find common ground between varied legal codes.

The adoption of this procedural framework, expected at the end of the week, will take the tribunal a significant step forward, officials say. "It's a road map for everybody. Without these rules the court cannot function properly," said tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath.

But the man who will prosecute one of the 20th century's worst genocides said the trial on which Cambodia has pinned so many of its hopes for reconciliation is misunderstood by those it is meant to serve. "We haven't done a good job of telling people there is a mountain of evidence and about the way we get through it," Robert Petit, one of two tribunal co-prosecutors, said in an interview last week. "Obviously there is a need for better information sharing," he said.

He said that not enough money or effort had been spent on outreach programs explaining the complex court procedure to the Cambodian public, putting the tribunal's credibility at risk.

"If the court isn't understood by the general public, it will fail," added co-investigating judge Marcel Lemonde, saying discussions were underway to organise monthly update briefings.

But lessons on dry legal procedure would likely be lost on many Cambodian villagers, who are concerned less about jurisprudence and more that "people are indicted and leaders arrested," said genocide researcher Youk Chhang.

"The public's expectations will be completely different than the court's delivery," Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia which has been compiling evidence against regime leaders, told AFP. "The public expects the trial to begin soon. ... They don't care about how you handle a case. They want a final judgement," he added.

As many as 10 former Khmer Rouge leaders are expected to be called to the dock over the apocalypse that engulfed Cambodia in the late 1970s.

The communist regime turned the already war-battered country into a vast collective farm between 1975 and 1979 in its drive for an agrarian utopia, forcing millions into the countryside. Up to two million people died of starvation, overwork and from executions during the four-year rule of the Khmer Rouge, which abolished religion, property rights, currency and schools.

Prosecutors in the three-year, joint UN-Cambodian tribunal are expected to hand up the names of potential defendants to an investigating judge by the end of the year.

Trials are expected to start in mid-2007, but Youk Chhang said there is a growing feeling among Cambodians that the tribunal is being done less for their benefit and more to raise the profile of its international backers.

"It is important right now that this process is accepted by the victims -- that they feel ownership," he said. "If (tribunal staff) do their job and concentrate, meet their deadlines, it should be okay," he said.

Lost Republic

Details are Sketchy has a nice find from the New Republic which I have reposted below. The author of the New Republic blog is actually the Editor-in-Chief of the publication which makes his comments even more inexcusable. Basic research does not seem to worry Mr. Peretz. Not surprisingly, there is no way to contact him directly and point out the errors in his blog, but you can contact the assistant editor Mr. Parker at: (rparker@tnr.com) and let him know the correct spelling of Khmer....

Clueless in Washington

November 18th, 2006

Martin Peretz of The New Republic has this to say about the Khmer Rouge Tribunals.

Cambodia is finally trying some Khymer Rouge officials in a combination of a court and truth and reconciliation process. My guess is that many, if not most of the Khymer are dead. And, as for their Cambodian victims, aside from the rough million or more they actually murdered, large numbers of them will also have died.

In addition to the completely asinine spelling of “Khmer,” Peretz is wrong on just about every account. So wrong, in fact, that it quickly becomes obvious that he has no idea what he is talking about.

There is no truth and reconciliation process. The cynical would argue that, at least at this point, there is not even an agreed set of rules for the court to work by. And while Peretz may be right when he says that some Khmer Rouge leaders are now dead, it’s also correct to say that many are not. Much the same can be said for the KR’s victims — while many have died, there are literally millions still living — as anyone who possesses even the most superficial understanding of the country could point out.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The principal defender

This is a long interview published in the Phnom Penh Post. The Principle Defender seems to be dominating the news these days. It is very long so I will only post a few highlights- but you can read the whole thing on KI media here:

The principal defender

Phnom Penh Post, Issue 15 / 23, November 17 - 30, 2006

....Rhetorically speaking, could a judge who was a victim of the Khmer Rouge be impartial or would this constitute a conflict of interest?

International law states that for justice to be done, justice must be seen to be done. Judges must be both impartial and independent. Independence means that they must be absolutely free from political influence, both in the way that they are appointed and also in the way that they are removed. For a judge to be impartial, international law states that the appearance of impartiality is important. Judges have been removed before for writing books about defendants where they suggest that they are guilty, for being on the committee of an NGO that was involved in the case and for having a close friendship with the prosecutor. It is likely that the question of whether a judge who was a victim of the Khmer Rouge can be impartial is going to be a significant legal question that will be raised by the defense before the ECCC.

Is it possible for war crimes tribunals such as the ECCC to provide fair trials for defendants?

It is important to remember that any defendant is presumed innocent until and unless the prosecution can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they are guilty. There have been acquittals at all previous war crimes tribunals, and there is no reason to think that that will not occur in the ECCC. If defendants are not tried in an overtly fair way, then no one can ever be sure what really happened, and the whole purpose of the court is wasted. Alternatively, we can have show trials.

How important are witness protection schemes for the integrity of the ECCC?

It is absolutely fundamental that there must be a full witness protection program for prosecution and defense witnesses. This needs expertise, training, financial and political support. Without this, trials cannot be fair.

What do you think the nature of the ECCC trials will be?

If the prosecutors restrict themselves to bringing cases against only the senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge, then the process before the ECCC is going to be much more like a truth commission than the adversarial trials of other war crimes tribunals.

Where the defendants are all elderly, any potential sentences will be life sentences, no matter what offences they may be convicted of.

Under the investigative system of justice, there is much more of a concept of a "search for the truth" than in the adversarial system, which is more concerned with "Can they prove it?" For many, the prime objective of the ECCC, for witnesses and defendants alike, is to be able to explain in public what happened to Cambodia. This also means that the ECCC is likely to ask the question "Why did it happen?" which is not normally something that concerns an adversarial trial.

The Lawyers are suing

Well that didn't take long.

The Cambodian Bar is apparently not happy at all with the Draft Internal Rules of the court or with the Principle Defender Rupert Skilbeck. In fact, they have released their comments on the draft rules which really amount to a flat out threat to sue Mr. Skilbeck and the ECCC unless they get their way.

Make no mistake, if the Cambodian Bar carries through with this threat it could make things very difficult indeed for the court to make any further progress. The court is holding an meeting at the Cambodian Japanese Friendship Center (?) all next week to finilize the rules of the court, the Bar Association along with everyone else will be anxiously waiting to see what they come up with.

No pressure guys..... no pressure at all.....

Cambodia's Bar Association threatens to derail Khmer Rouge tribunal

PHNOM PENH (AFP) - Cambodia's Bar Association has demanded greater control over the legal defence of former Khmer Rouge leaders and has threatened to block foreign attorneys from participating in a tribunal to try top regime cadre.

In a scathing statement sent to tribunal staff obtained Friday by AFP, the association said draft internal regulations that would determine how the tribunal operates violate Cambodian law.

At the core of the Bar's complaints is the provision giving foreign lawyers the right to defend Cambodian clients.

Under the current proposed regulations, "lawyers admitted to practice outside of Cambodia shall work in conjunction with a lawyer admitted in Cambodia, as co-lawyers, with equal rights of audience".

Association president Ky Tech said that only the Bar can approve the list of defence attorneys for former Khmer Rouge suspects, oversee their training and mete out discipline.

The Bar has also said it would not approve any foreign lawyers whose home countries did not give Cambodian attorneys reciprocal rights to practice law.

Ky Tech said he would sue the tribunal -- known as the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia -- as well as the government and foreign bar associations if his organisation's demands were not met.

"Foreigners cannot represent clients. They can only accompany Cambodian lawyers," Ky Tech said in the Bar's statement.

"Foreign lawyers must be accepted beforehand by the Bar Association ... these regulations do not abide by Cambodian law," he added.

The Bar also objects to the Defence Office, established to protect the rights of the accused, and said it should be headed by a Cambodian rather than a foreigner.

British lawyer Rupert Skilbeck is currently the principal defender in the office.

A three-year, joint UN-Cambodian tribunal to prosecute crimes committed during the 1975-79 Khmer Rouge regime got underway in July, with co-prosecutors expected to hand up the names of potential defendants to an investigating judge by the end of the year.

Trials are expected to start in mid-2007, and as many as 10 former leaders could be called to the court over the deaths of up to two million people during the Khmer Rouge's four-year rule.

So far no foreign lawyers have applied to act as defence counsel. Only Jacques Verges, the radical French lawyer who defended Nazi Klaus Barbie and the terrorist Carlos the Jackal, has expressed interest in participating.

Verges reportedly met with Khieu Samphan, the head of state during the Khmer Rouge regime, earlier this year to discuss possibly defending the former cadre if he is indicted.

The two had first met in Paris as students during the 1950s.

Debate has raged over how to include Cambodian lawyers, who have a reputation as being notoriously inept and corrupt, in the tribunal.

Few, if any, have international trial experience and are unlikely to be able to match foreign attorneys in skill, critics argue.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

DC CAM on Air

The director of DC CAM, Youk Chhang was on Asia Pacific radio this week talking about the tribunal. DC CAM has had a love-hate relationship with the court over the last months, but in this interview Mr. Chhang seems to have struck a good balance between his role as an NGO and the courts role.

Anyone who has read the latest edition of TIME Asia will recognize Youk Chhang as one of the 'Asian Hero's' in this weeks edition. He certainly deserves much credit for his work in keeping and gathering the KR records all these years.
CAMBODIA: Khmer Rouge trials enters crucial phase.

In Cambodia, the effort to bring to account the surviving leaders of the murderous Khmer Rouge regime has entered a crucial phase. Years of documentation and research is being turned into evidence by prosecutors, building a case against those responsible for the deaths of an estimated two million Cambodians.

Listen Listen | Audio Help

Presenter/Interviewer: Tom Fayle
Speakers: Tuol Sleng, guide; Youk Chhang, director of Documentation Centre of Cambodia

FAYLE: The chatter of birds in the grounds of the former Phnom Penh high school now known as Tuol Sleng. Thousands of people from all walks of life were brought here from all over the country. Held in miserable conditions - often for months - they were tortured, taken to the killing fields and executed, only a handful are known to have survived.

Everyone, as they say in Cambodia, is a victim, with a quarter of the population perishing in often terrible circumstances in the three years, eight months and 20 days the Khmer Rouge held power in the latter half of 1970s

Now, nearly three decades on, the building blocks for the mixed Cambodian - international court are in place and the detail of just how the trials will be conducted is being thrashed out. A more than 80-page draft of the court's internal rules has recently been released for public comment.

CHHANG: Right now it's a crucial stage for the investiagtion and I think the office of the prosecutors have been very active, they've been working very hard. Not just with us but also with other civil societies and other individuals in terms of gathering information for evidence and hopefully that it can turn the evidence to become a legal case.

FAYLE: Youk Chhang is the director of Documentation Centre of Cambodia, which for years has been in the forefront of preserving the history of the genocide. Agreement to hold the special United Nations-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal took years of tortuous negotiation…but even today, it's still not clear whether the indictments will be limited to a few high profile leaders of the former regime or the net will be spread more widely.

CHHANG: This is the job of the co-prosecutor. We shall give them some time on this issue. And I think also it would be unfair for us to point a finger at certain individuals at this stage.

FAYLE: You've been studying this issue for years and so have many others. You must have an idea as to who you think is going to be in the frame when the time comes.

CHHANG: Well I know who these people are. I know who's the driver, who's the clerk, who's the chief of unit but you know I'm not a lawyer, I'm not a co-prosecutor so it's not my role to say this or that should be prosecuted. But we have that information which has also been available to co-prosecutors in the last several months and we've been supplying all kinds of information, photos, documents, sounds, you name it, location of massacre. So it's up to them to decide who among these people should be prosecuted.

FAYLE: Give me your best guess as to when you think proceedings will kick off.

CHHANG: I think it's too soon to say January 2007 but i think between April and June because they need a couple of months to settle down between the investigator and the co-prosecutors. So I hope maybe April or June 2007.

FAYLE; The process is expected to cost well over 50 million US dollars and some question the usefulness of the exercise, arguing that while it may be a preoccupation of ngo groups and international lawyers the bulk of Cambodia's young population now has other priorities.

Tribunal's Justice and Judicial Legacy At Odds

Tribunal's Justice and Judicial Legacy At Odds

Thursday, November 16, 2006

News Analysis
By Erika Kinetz

By now, with the heaps of scholarly work conducted on candidates for the prosecution, everyone knows these guys— the ailing and yet-to-be-named top leaders of the Democratic Kampuchea regime— are guilty, right?

Even as the nitty-gritty work of picking through the draft internal rules of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia proceeds—public comments are due Friday—it is clear that the challenges the tribunal faces are deeper than the 113 proposed rules can address. They are cultural, historical, political and existential. And they are not unique to Cambodia.

Perhaps the deepest issue is the fact that the drive for historical reckoning is, in some respects, at odds with the judicial legacy many hope the Khmer Rouge tribunal will leave Cambodia.

This is a fairly common problem at such courts. But it may be of particular import in Cambodia, where some have argued that the ancillary benefits of the tribunal— a fuller historical record and a more robust rule of law—may be more significant than forcing a few old men to live out the slim remainder of their days in prison.

Rupert Skilbeck, the tribunal's chief defense coordinator, speaking Monday at a conference on the rights of the accused, cited numerous examples from other international criminal tribunals where there was friction between the requirement of judicial propriety and the thirst for historical justice.

Problem one, Skilbeck said, is the presumption of innocence. By now, with the heaps of scholarly work conducted on candidates for the prosecution, everyone knows these guys—the ailing and yet-to-be-named top leaders of the Democratic Kampuchea regime —are guilty, right'

The former leaders of the former Yugoslavia had it bad, too.

Skilbeck said that at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, "Most Wanted" posters of indictees were hung liberally around the court's offices. After each arrest, people would mark a big red X over that person's face.

Nuremberg, he continued, was an inauspicious start to the history of international defense law. All the defense lawyers were members of the Nazi party, whom the German Bar Association accused of defending their clients too vigorously.

"The worst offender," Skilbeck added, "is the Secretary-General of the United Nations [Kofi Annan], who recently stated that Charles Taylor is a war criminal. Charles Taylor is not a war criminal unless and until he can be found guilty."

Taylor, the detained former president of Liberia, is accused of war crimes in Sierra Leone. His trial at the International Criminal Court in the Hague is set to begin in April.

Many have argued that the enormous pressure judges on war crimes courts face to convict means that the first principle of international criminal justice is often inverted. The accused must prove their innocence. Guilty verdicts, the argument goes, reassure donors their money has been well spent and satisfy victims' thirst for retribution.

This, according to Sok Sam Oeun, executive director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, is dangerously close to one of the most troubling practices of the very Cambodian courts many observers hope the ECCC will improve on. In practice, he said, the accused is often asked in a Cambodian court if he has enough evidence to prove his innocence.

"We cannot underestimate the importance of having a strong defense," said Richard Rogers, the deputy principal defender at the ECCC.

That is easier said than done.

Mounting a coherent defense in international criminal courts is difficult. And it is not only defense lawyers who argue that the fairness of a trial hinges on defendants' rights. The UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, for example, enshrines the rights of the accused.

Provisions guaranteeing the rights of defendants were one of the prerequisites for UN involvement in the ECCC, according to "The Khmer Rouge Tribunal" a collection of essays recently published by the Documentation Center of Cambodia. And the ECCC has budgeted almost $4.8 million for defense council fees, which Skilbeck said was part of an attempt to avoid inequities in the strength of the prosecution versus the defense that have plagued other international criminal courts.

There are other barriers besides money that threaten to undermine the strength of the defense. Corruption is one. At the International Criminal Tribunal for
Rwanda, Skilbeck said, defense lawyers were subject to a fee-splitting arrangement where they had to give kickbacks to the defendant's family.

"The client chooses a lawyer on the condition that the lawyer pays a portion of his fee back to the client’s family," Skilbeck said. "It was fairly established practice in Rwanda. That isn’t allowed. There will have to be measures within the ECCC to ensure that doesn’t happen."

International relations are another common source of friction, he said, and the rumblings of a turf war between Cambodian attorneys and their international colleagues can already be heard.

For one thing, Skilbeck's mandate is unclear, a point Cambodian attorneys in the audience at Monday's conference did not hesitate to point out. His office is not enshrined by the ECCC law, but by the draft internal rules of the court that are currently under consideration.

"Strictly speaking, I don’t legally exist at the moment" Skilbeck acknowledged.

Moreover, he is not authorized to practice as a lawyer in Cambodia. No foreign lawyer is right now.

"So far we have not received any applications for foreign lawyers to practice in Cambodia," Ly Tayseng, secretary-general of the Cambodian Bar Association, told Skilbeck at Monday's meeting.

"Maybe you should be the first one," he added. Skilbeck smiled in response.

Given the hurdles the ECCC defense office predicts Cambodian lawyers will face before the court, cooperation may be key to justice. Skilbeck said he envisioned defense teams composed of local and international attorneys.

"The EC is technically within the Cambodian system, but there are so many differences it will seem like a different jurisdiction,'' Rogers said It will likely be the first time many Cambodian attorneys have used international criminal law, he added.

Qualifications for defense lawyers are under discussion as well. Whether Cambodian defenders will have to have experience in criminal cases, for example, before cutting their teeth on a complex genocide trial remains to be seen.

A few details show the differences clearly: The average Cambodian trial lasts 10 to 20 minutes, there may or may not be any live witnesses, and the presentation of documentary evidence is the exception rather than the rule, according to Sok Sam Oeun and Rogers.

In contrast the UN side of the ECCC has allotted $332,300 for expert witnesses and $110,100 for an expected 150 witnesses for the prosecution and the defense. Skilbeck said the court has budgeted for a six-month trial.

The stated function of the defense office and its 15 proposed staffers is to help address those challenges by offering administrative and legal support as well as training. But it was far from clear on Monday how welcome that help would be. Several of the Cambodian attorneys present made loud protests in the name of national sovereignty.

"We have the competency to work on the Khmer Rouge Tribunal," said Kang Rithkiry, an attorney with the Asean International Law Group, adding that "the bar association can take care of the lawyers."

Some, including historian Steve Heder, have argued that only a fair trial that hews to the text of the law will be able to deliver to the Cambodian people valuable information not just about what happened during the regime of Democratic Kampuchea but also why.

In the ECCC, much of the work is being done now, in the private, pre-trial phase. Like other major international criminal courts, the ECCC will focus only on senior leaders and people most responsible for the horrors inflicted on the Cambodian people from 1975 to 1979. Popular demands for more far-reaching justice were met in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia with trials by national courts and in Sierra Leone and East Timor by truth and reconciliation commissions. No comparable mechanism exists in Cambodia at the moment, and observers say it’s unlikely that one will be established.

Thus, how—and how well—the court will serve the public remains to be seen.

The trial chamber at the ECCC, which may well be modified, is at the moment an impressive half-moon-shaped, 500-seat theater, based, according to Skilbeck, on the design of the Chaktomuk Theater, the site of the 1979 trial in absentia of Pol Pot and former Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary, which many dismiss as a show trial.

"It’s a theater for a trial," Skilbeck said of the ECCC site.

"If you're trying to make it look like a show trial, you put it in a theater like that," he added.

Most international tribunals, he said, have about three people in the audience.

"International criminal trials are actually quite boring," he said, adding that he hoped there would be some architectural adjustments to the trial chamber to ensure that the proceedings would not be overly intimidating for defendants.

But here in Cambodia, there is a hunger for publicity about the tribunal that neither the public affairs office of the ECCC nor a mere 500-seat theater seems able to satisfy.

Ang Udom, a Cambodian attorney who attended Monday's meeting, argued that even the defendants might enjoy a good show.

"I believe the potential suspects may be proud to see many people watch this trial because they want to prove they are innocent," he said. "My idea is that more participation is best."

The Court eats it own

More news in the Cambodia Daily today, this time two articles. The first is on the front page and includes a photo of the infamous detention center. If there was any doubt about it consisting of a few containers this should put them to rest. The story Tribunal Justice and Judicial Legacy at Odds is quite an interesting read. Its a long one which I will post as soon as it appears online.

The second story is where the action is. In the national section the awkwardly entitled ECCC Needs Outreach, Understanding: Officials, appears to have the Court Officials criticizing their own Public Affairs office; "Poor funding for outreach to the public and an insufficient effort on the part of tribunal staff to explain the long awaited process are putting the courts credibility in danger", they are quoted as saying.

Hard to know what to read from this, are they trying to point out there is a lack of funds? Are they blaming the Public Affairs staff? Are they blaming the ECCC staff in general for not being transparent enough? ECCC Public Affair's Chief Helen Jarivs, did her best to defend the office in the story, saying she would welcome more money and noting that the ECCC is way ahead of where other tribunals were in outreach at this stage. The court is a pretty complex organization, and its own internal rules are still under development so its not too surprising that the general public is not sure how its all going to work.

All and all a little disturbing to see the ECCC staff arguing among themselves in the press. Lets hope they all get on the same page soon.

ECCC Needs Outreach, Understanding: Officials

Thursday, November 16, 2006

By Douglas Gillison

The tribunal established to try former Khmer Rouge leaders is not doing enough to explain itself to the Cambodian public, tribunal officials said Wednesday.

Poor funding for outreach to the public and an insufficient effort on the part of tribunal staff to explain the long-awaited court process are putting the tribunals' credibility in danger, they said.

"We're going to fail if we don't have the proper outreach program," co-prosecutor Robert Petit said in an interview.

"What I’ve been worried about is the lack of time and opportunities," he said, adding that the budget for outreach was also a concern. "I don’t think it’s adequate."

Co-Investigating Judge Marcel Lemonde agreed.

"If we are misunderstood, if the general public doesn’t understand our mission, we will fail," he said, adding that tribunal staff have recently discussed holding monthly news briefings to explain tribunal operations better, though no date has yet been set for the first such meeting.

At a September public forum on the Khmer Rouge tribunal organized by the Center for Social Development in Kratie province, Petit said he was confronted by basic questions the tribunal must strive to answer for all of Cambodia.

"The majority of people wanted an explanation of why these things happened. Why did they kill? Why did they keep killing after they had the power?" Petit said of the forum.

"We haven’t done a good job of telling people there is a mountain of evidence and about the way we get through it," he said.

The fact that the tribunal will be about criminal accountability and not financial retribution has not been sufficiently explained to the public, and members of the public do not understand how tribunal organs such as the offices of the co-prosecutors, the co-investigating judges and the Supreme Court Chamber function, he added.

Helen Jarvis, chief of public affairs for the tribunal, said the tribunal would welcome additional funds for outreach but her office was doing what it could.

"We've done what we can do. It’s for others to decide," she said. "I think compared to what was done in other tribunals, we're well ahead," she added.

In addition to the $50,000 currently budgeted this year for outreach in the form of print and radio announcements, the tribunal recently received close to $72,000 in extra-budgetary funding from Norway and Australia. This will pay for outreach visits to the provinces as well as producing the current edition of the tribunal's introductory pamphlet, Jarvis said.

Tribunal representatives have made recent visits to pubic events in Sihanoukville, as well as Kratie and Kampot provinces, she added.

Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, said the work of explaining how the tribunal functions is not for the tribunal's investigators and judges but for the office of pubic affairs.

"This is a crucial time," he warned. "If you find it difficult to understand [the tribunal process], imagine the villager," he said, adding that the tribunal's outreach could be improved, even without more funding.

Weekly meetings with members of the public and simple publications explaining the court’s rules, such as the tribunal’s introductory pamphlet, could help narrow the gap between the public's expectations and the realty of the tribunals work, he said.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Enter the Defence

The ECCC 'Principle Defender' Rupert Skilbeck made himself known to the local NGO and legal community in a conference held at the Sunway Hotel in Phnom Penh on Monday. Under the theme of 'Rights of the Accused', Skilbeck and other speaker gave a hint of the strong voice the defence is going to have in this process.

Skilbeck was openly critical of the recently released Internal Rules (see post below) and highlighted many areas which he felt needed to be revised. Some of the highlights from the meeting;
  • Trials in Absentia: Currently not permitted, Skilbeck wants them to be allowed
  • Disqualification of Judges: Currently no provision for this, Skilbeck wants it included
  • Protection of Witnesses: Skilbeck wants this highlighted and strengthened
  • The Detention Center: Skilbeck says it needs to be drastically improved and enlarged
  • Forgien Lawyers: Will they get to argue cases before the court? Skilbeck insists they should
  • Defence Lawyers: Who gets to choose them. The Cambodian Bar wants to be in control of this, while the Principle Defender wants to create his own list.
Lots of issues here. Particularly interesting is his criticism of the Detention Center as not meeting international standards, something that was highlighted in yesterday's press.

Overall though it is a pretty good sign that someone working inside the court can be so openly critical about its rules and regulations.

Full Article from AFP here:

Witness protection 'insufficient' for Khmer Rouge trials
November 13, 2006
Agence France Presse

Phnom Penh - Not enough had been done to ensure the protection of witnesses called before Cambodia's Khmer Rouge tribunal, lawyers warned Monday, adding the trials of former regime leaders could be jeopardised. "We are concerned," said Rupert Skilbeck of the tribunal's Defence Office, which was established to ensure the rights of defendants. "Compared to other tribunals, it's miniscule ... you have to get this right," he said, calling witnesses protection "insufficient".

"If witnesses are killed or intimidated, you won't have a fair trial," he said, speaking at a meeting on the challenges faced by the defence.

Potentially hundreds of people could be called to court as Cambodia tries former regime leaders, accused of one of the 20th century's worst genocides. Up to two million people died of starvation, overwork, or were executed during the 1975-79 rule of the Khmer Rouge, which turned Cambodia into a vast collective farm between 1975 and 1979 in its drive for an agrarian utopia, forcing millions into the countryside.

A three-year, joint UN-Cambodian tribunal got underway in July, with co-prosecutors expected to hand up the names of potential defendants to an investigating judge by the end of the year.

Trials are expected to start in mid-2007.

A top genocide researcher said earlier this year likely witnesses had gone into hiding amid protection fears. Under the current arrangement, witnesses will come under the protection of Cambodian police, who critics point out have a history of corruption and brutality.

"The setup of witness protection as currently envisaged will be wholly inadequate," said lawyer Richard Rogers in a report. "Relying on a police force that has a reputation for corruption and incompetence would place the lives of the witnesses at risk," he said.

Monday, November 13, 2006

A prison cell with hot water is still a cell

Cambodia Daily appears to have the activities of the ECCC as its primary focus these days. Today it was a feature about the construction of the dentition center, through the generous donations of the government of Japan. The subtext of the first paragraph however, seems to bait readers into thinking that having cells with air conditioning and hot water might be a waste of money. Even some other bloggers have picked up on this, asking why prisoners should have air conditioning when most Cambodians do not, or even why spending so much money on a detention centre is even wise since so few are going to be tried.

These critics miss the point. The court is supposed to be here to create something that meets international standards. Wait till the locals get a load of a strong vocal defence- something unheard of in the current system. Will they then say that is a waste of money as well?

The fact is that it is the mandate of the court to meet these standards, and providing them in the detention centre is exactly what the money should be spent on. There are those who would no doubt argue they ought to be thrown in a dark hole and left to die- but then that is what the Khmer Rouge would have done, and part of the court is to show that the ways of the Khmer Rouge are no longer the ways on Cambodia.

Four Prison Cells Ready for KR Defendants

Monday, November 13, 2006

By Erika Kinetz

An initial detention center with four cells, each equipped with air conditioning and hot water, was completed last week just outside the grounds of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, ECCC officials said Sunday.

Ten companies plan to visit the ECCC today to place bids on the construction of a more extensive facility, which will likely have eight cells and be paid for by the Cambodian government said tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath. Construction of that larger facility is expected to be completed early next year, he added.

The co-prosecutors and co-investigating judges had requested the immediate construction of the four-cell facility, which cost $45,000 and, was paid for by the Japanese government.

"They may need it before [January]," said Helen Jarvis, chief of public affairs at the ECCC. No date has been released as to when the first arrests might be made.

The four-cell facility lies just outside the fence that demarcates the court's compound. The government will be responsible for the security of the defendants at the facility according to the 2003 agreement between the UN and the Cambodian government.

Security and witness protection are major concerns for a number of tribunal observers and international donors. "The protection of detainees is crucial,'' one foreign diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

He pointed to the case of Slobodan Milosevic, the former president of former Yugoslavia, who died in March before judgment could be passed by the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

Medical information released in May reportedly documented a tempestuous relationship between Milosevic and his doctors, which might have hastened his demise.

Among other things, he refused to take pills, and on the day he died, guards initially decided not to examine him when he failed to move or respond to their greeting, the New York Times reported. It was only after an hour that they inspected him more closely and discovered he had no pulse, raising a question of whether he could have been revived.

"Even in The Hague this happens," said the diplomat. "In Cambodia, anything can happen. We are on alert."

Jarvis said the court also is on alert. "Everybody is taking security seriously, as you would expect" she said.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Internal Rules of the Court

In what has to be seen as a surprising move the court has published a draft version of its internal rules and asked for Cambodian civil society to comment. This is clearly not going to be business as usual for a Cambodian court. It will be interesting to see, how many of the local and international NGOs take advantage of the opportunity to review this document and then to see how seriously the court takes the input that comes back. But all in all this has to be seen in a pretty positive light by those critics of the court who believed that there would be no transparency.

The press release from the court issued on Thursday claimed that the rules would be up on all the relevant websites by Friday night- of course that didn't happen and as of this morning only the UN site (www.unakrt-online.org) has them available in English and Khmer on its documents page.

Mr. Motoo

More and more of the Judges are appearing in the press as the profile of the tribunal continues to grow internationally. This time it is the Japanese judge Motoo Noguchi in a softball interview published on Nov 3 in the Yale Herald. Some highlights;
....Yale Herald: How will you be an objective judge in this scenario in light of the tragedies that occurred?

Motoo Noguchi: Judges have to always be impartial. Our job is to evaluate the evidence, find the facts and apply the law, however heinous the crimes are. But for the people of Cambodia, it may be different. It’s difficult to find a Cambodian who hasn’t been affected in anyway by the atrocities committed over these four years. Everyone has had someone killed, whether it’s their parents or relatives or friends. Every Cambodian has his own personal sad memory on this era.

YH: So being a foreigner is an asset?

MN: In terms of procedure, the court sometimes may need to be guided by the international standards on due process or human rights. In that context, judges also need to have a good and knowledge of international justice.

YH: What sets apart the Khmer Rouge trial from others like it?

MN: This is taking place in the Cambodian national court, not what is generally called the international criminal tribunals. This Cambodian tribunal, on the other hand, is a national court that is assisted by the UN and the international community, unlike the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda that are part of the United Nations organism and established by a Security Council resolution....
His comment about how everyone in Cambodia was affected in some way by the Khmer Rouge may come into play should the Defence decide to challenge the impartiality of the Cambodian judges. But this is pretty much a feel good interview about the good work of Japan.

Big News

Well the Daily is at it again. They suddenly realized that the borders of the city of Phnom Penh had been expanded to include the site of the court- which is about 15 km from the city center. This was done months ago and made public through a Royal Decree and press announcement, but the Daily writes as if it was some kind of a secret move in the night....

Phnom Penh Enlarged To Include Tribunal Site

Thursday, November 2, 2006

By Douglas Gillison and Van Roeun

The borders of Phnom Penh Municipality were extended in July to include the Khmer Rouge tribunal premises in Kandal province's Ang Snuol district, which under the tribunal law must be located within the capital, officials said. Four villages which had been located in Ang Snuol district's Kantok commune are now part of Dangkao district's Chaom Chau commune in Phnom Penh, according to a July 29 Royal Decree received this week. "The four villages have a very small number of people so we can do it easily," Municipal Governor Kep Chuktema said Wednesday. The change was not only made to include the tribunal premises but fits with urban planning for the growth of the city, he added. "This was always the plan," tribunal public affairs chief Helen Jarvis said Wednesday. Jarvis denied that the change to the city's boundaries had been made quietly, saying the tribunal had notified the media and that the royal decree ordering the change had been published in the Government Gazette.

A press release and a Royal announcement issued in July, and the Daily is just getting the news now?