From left: Keat Chhon, Chea Sim and Heng Samrin, all of whom had served in different capacities under Pol Pot's murderous DK regime and all have hitherto been spared their respective testimony before the KR Tribunal set up ostensibly with the aim of finding justice for a deeply wronged nation - School of Vice
The late N. Sihanouk at a meeting with KR leaders including Pol Pot sitting 3rd from left [obscured] - School of Vice
The "trial of the century" is fast becoming the farce in our living memory with most of the arms and legs of the offending culprit/ party and known accomplices still at large and most incredulously allowed to actively dictate the trial's proceedings to their own whims and political advantage. War crimes or other crimes against humanity [committed by political regimes] tribunals that had taken place in modern history had tended to deliver some measure of justice to their perished and living victims by virtue of the power relations pertaining to the status of both the defendant and the prosecution parties where the accused had only the full force and applicability of the law to contend with without undue interferences from the incumbent regime or powerful personalities. In this case, the suspects [there are many, including Mr Hun Sen himself and former late monarch Sihanouk] have been at liberty to remain beyond the reach of the court's due process. Whether Sihanouk himself would have been willing to appear before the ECCC to give his testimony whilst he was still alive [as he had indicated he would be] is another question, since like the timely death of Pol Pot in April 1998 it would appear that other players in the Cambodian drama have been prepared and determined to keep their respective incriminating involvement well out of the court's spot light and beyond the radar of informed public opinion. Indeed, this notion of informed opinion is one of the principal reasons for setting up the KRT in the first place with education and publicity through the media being, in theory, the raison d'tre of the whole project.
From the beginning some observers have warned of the hybrid court's ill-fated course of action in terms of its ability to deliver on its own professed aims and ambitions. The decision to have the court located in Phnom Penh rather than outside of Cambodia is in itself one critical factor that compromises the working and independence of the court with the Phnom Penh regime constantly obstructing and pressurising the judges to pander to its own wishes and agenda. That this is being self-evidently so is borne out by the countless resignations of foreign judges to have been appointed over the years, whilst the faces of the regime's anointed Cambodian judges remain something of a constant feature of the whole farce. One can well imagine what this odious regime is capable of. But what the UN and the world community through its donor governments are doing with respect to not only the ECCC but the entire unwholesome political life of Cambodia is quite reprehensible in my humble view. And to add further insult to injury the country's long serving dictator is now calling for more financial aid to keep the KRT afloat? Wouldn't the money [wherever it comes from] be better off spent rescuing thousands [perhaps, hundreds of thousands] of ordinary Cambodians drowning in the current floods? - School of Vice
PPP Fri, 11 October 2013
With just days until closing arguments at the Khmer Rouge tribunal are slated to begin, Prime Minister Hun Sen made a direct request to US Secretary of State John Kerry for increased funding to the cash-strapped court, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said yesterday.
Speaking to reporters at Phnom Penh International Airport, Secretary of State Kao Kim Hourn said the premier also approached UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key with similar requests in meetings on the sidelines of this month’s ASEAN summit in Brunei, however received no firm commitments.
“Hun Sen has requested to the US [secretary of state] about the financial support for the Khmer Rouge tribunal, and the US [secretary of state] said he would consider this request,” Kim Hourn said.
Meanwhile, national-side staffers at the court have gone without pay again this month, this time directly on the heels of an emergency loan from the UN last month that ended a weeks-long strike by paying most workers their back salaries for June, July and August.
However, court spokesman Neth Pheaktra expressed optimism that a solution could be found before workers resort once again to strikes.
“This is an effort for both sides to support the ECCC,” Pheaktra said of the meeting between Ban and Hun Sen. “We strongly believe that . . . talks between Samdech Hun Sen and the secretary-general will find a solution to the financial problems of the national side of the court.”
According to one national side staffer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, given the lack of results “it is obviously insane to keep striking time and again”, but staying at the court would be little better.
“If the situation surrounding the pay does not improve in due course, it is most likely that some interpreters will tender their resignation and start looking for new, more secure jobs,” he added. “It appears to them that future job prospects at the court have become less favourable and less secure.”