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.

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