Phnom Penh stalls nominations of the judges

10 April 2006 by Anne-Laure Porée

The outcome of Slobodan Milosevic trial may recur in Cambodia, where the government is delaying setting up the extraordinary chambers to try ex- Khmer Rouge leaders, adopting a strategy that increases the likelihood of these leaders dying before they ever come to trial. The latest holdup - the nomination of judges. On March 7, the UN Secretary-General gave Phnom Penh a list of international judges. Since then, the Supreme Council of Magistracy, presided by King Norodom Sihanouk, has been putting off announcing their nomination and the nomination of the Cambodian judges. Helen Jarvis, head of public affairs at the special court for Cambodia, is invariably insisting that these announcements, which have been promised since the beginning of 2006, will be made "soon." According to her, "It's a matter of weeks."

"The nomination [of the judges] is a sign of political will," insists Kek Galabru, president of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights. "But there is no political will in this case. Perhaps the government prefers to wait until the Khmer Rouge leaders all die off, since the dead can no longer talk. This attitude confirms the complexity of the Cambodian people." According to another political analyst, "I really don't see any headway being made. This nomination is the most important step, not the construction of a Spirit House near the court that would have us believe that progress is being made. Many think that now that the administration is in place, the government can no longer back out. Personally, I think that there are ways to stall the process, such as using a domestic political crisis similar to the one in 2003. The Khmer Rouge trials definitely came to a standstill then."

Want to read more?

If you subscribe to a free membership, you can read this article and explore our full archive, dating back to 1997.

Subscribe now

Related articles

article
19 February 2007 by Laetitia Grotti

One year ago on January 6, 2006, the 17 members of Morocco's Equity and Reconciliation Commission (IER) were closing up shop after submitting their final report to King Mohammed VI. The Moroccan truth commission had received a flood of compliments from the international community praising the recommendations in its report, especially those advocating legislative and constitutional reforms. One year later, however, the results have been rather mixed.

article
11 September 2006 by our correspondent in Arusha

After having tried high-ranking officers, ministers, businessmen, priests, journalists, local officials and militiamen, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is in uncharted waters. On September 11, the most famous rwandese troubadour of his generation will stand trial for genocide. 

article
23 October 2006 by Christine Chaumeau

China is keeping a polite distance from international criminal justice. Beijing is hardly disinterested, but China does want to make sure that these new global mechanisms are not going to infringe upon its sovereignty by delving into particularly sensitive cases such as Tibet. 

article
United Nations Operation in Burundi disarms rebel forces in Mbanda in February 2005 (Photo: Flickr/UN Photo/Martine Perret)
03 June 2015 by Janet H. Anderson, The Hague (The Netherlands)

Over the last month, Burundi has hit the headlines as the president put himself forward to be elected for a controversial third term, resulting in street protests, thousands of refugees who fled instability and an attempted coup. Behind the issues of elections and constitutionalism are also those of justice following Burundi’s long-running civil war. The international community supported an intensive process of negotiation and the signing of the Arusha Accord in 2000. But in the decade and a half since, its provisions on justice have been debated though never fully implemented.

article
06 November 2006 by Pierre Hazan

France's attitude towards international criminal justice is marked by ambiguity. Paris subscribes to a vision of the world in which international humanitarian law is considered a way to curb violence against civilian populations, but at the same time it is wary of an unchecked judicial system that could end up prosecuting French soldiers engaged in areas where it has old and deep-rooted interests.