Monday, March 30, 2009

KRT corruption a 'cancer'

Former KR foreign affairs minister Ieng Sary's defence lawyer Michael Karnavas (centre) in court during a pretrial hearing. (Photo by: ECCC/POOL)

Monday, 30 March 2009

Written by Georgia Wilkins
The Phnom Penh Post

The tribunal will achieve very little unless graft allegations are dealt with, says Ieng Sary's lawyer Michael Karnavas.

You were critical of the idea of a Khmer Rouge tribunal when it was first being discussed. As a lawyer for one of the [charged persons], do you still believe this is the case?
My primary objection back then - and it still stands today - is the fact that these trials will not deal with certain inconvenient truths, such as the responsibility of all actors involved in the events preceding and following the KR period. It is as if the process is being gamed to view and judge the period and events in the abstract, without any historical context. My belief ... is that a truth and reconciliation process similar to the South African model would be far more beneficial in getting to the historical truth and giving far more opportunities for those involved in these historical events to be heard.

These trials will fall far too short in determining what happened, let alone why these events came about in the first place and how might future generations deal with similar circumstances. Better to put the time, effort and money to better use.

How serious are the allegations of corruption levelled at officials at the ECCC?
If what is being reported in the press is true - and I say if, because we have yet to see the results of the investigations - this sort of corruption and the extent of it, as reported, would be in a class of its own. I think it is imprudent to simply suggest that this only deals with administrative matters and not judicial matters.

Those who are reported to be on the take or having to rent their positions by way of a shakedown mafia style have the ability to impact every level of the proceedings. If one has to pay to keep his position, then how can it be said that this very same person ... will not be subject to other pressures designed to achieve a particular result? If what is being reported is true, then the ECCC is suffering from cancer. The question now is whether there is a willingness to impose a regime of massive intervention to save the ECCC or simply allow things to persist to the point where the cancer becomes terminal.

Some argue that regardless of which individuals at the court have received kickbacks, the UN shares responsibility for revealing ... what these allegations are. How guilty do you see the UN in this saga?
The UN is all too quick to lecture about the rule of law, transparency and the need to have international standards. Regrettably, the UN at times behaves as if it is above what it preaches. The UN - which is an excellent institution and does an enormous service to humanity - is also a political institution and, as such, unfortunately, is overly sensitive to bad news.

In this instance, the UN would be better served if it came clean or risks being further tainted in this ongoing scandal. In the end, the UN may need to make a very hard decision: to stay with the ECCC and continue to fund it and actively participate in the proceedings from administrative to judicial, to cut its losses, try to preserve its name and reputation, and walk away.

You have criticised the UN's double standards when it comes to transparency in the past. Do you see the same pattern emerging here?
Yes. The UN should not be above scrutiny and criticism. The UN may be trying to take the necessary steps to get to the bottom of the corruption scandal, but it does need to be much more forthcoming; the sooner the better, especially given that we are dealing with a judicial institution.

Do you believe the court will leave behind a strong legal legacy?
It all depends on how the trials go! This is an exquisite opportunity for the Cambodian judicial system and legal profession to grow and develop. It is also a good opportunity to showcase a fair and transparent process which could go a long way in building confidence in the judiciary as a whole.

What is your greatest concern about the tribunal to date?
As with any other tribunal where I am involved in defending a case, my concern is whether my client can and will get a fair trial. Let's face it, all of the charged persons before the ECCC have already been found guilty in the court of public opinion. This, one can say, is a natural human reaction, which is why, of course, when an accused goes to court, it is expected that he will be tried by a detached panel of judges who will not be swayed by public opinion or pressures from outside forces - such as donor countries.

Finally, what, in your opinion, will the ECCC achieve?
I am afraid that unless and until the ECCC is cleared of this corruption scandal, very little will be seen to have been achieved at the end of the day. Justice needs to be seen to be done, and thus far, it is too early to tell if that is possible. There is a sense of urgency on the part of some of the donor countries to just get on with the trials, even if the process is flawed or tainted.

The problem with this myopic way of looking at things is that if the process is flawed the results are valueless. I cannot underscore enough that procedural justice is just as important - if not more important - than substantive justice - especially in a society where the rule of law is perceived ... to be a malleable commodity whose shape and form is dependent on situation, convenience and predestined results.



Anonymous said...

C'est pas drôle Sirs la vie des millions khmers,you ought ask the survivor khmer ,they are still alive.
Aar kor ning theang tnot.1970 sihanouk cried from Pékin that"Chhén Pou chay,Yek Nan,Chong kor thoanché chay ik chri ta tav meiytikor chhou-y"
We people we need peace,Independence like Vietnam,China.....etc

Anonymous said...

Only Cambodia needs peace but the rest don't. The world belongs to Cambodia.

Anonymous said...

Yes of course! including Thai-thieft! Thailand belong to cambodia everyone in the whole world knew that...because thailand is fake and fags real history! of course the whole world knew that too!

Anonymous said...

If you voted for CPP (Cambodian People's Party):

Also known as:

Communist Party of Kampuchea
Khmer Revolution Party
Khmer Rouge Party
Khmer Krorhorm Party - គណបក្សខ្មែរក្រហម

You're support the killing of 1.7 million innocent Khmer peoples from 1975 to 1979 in Cambodia.

You're support the killing at least sixteen innocent men, women and children on March 30, 1997 Grenade Attack in Cambodia.

You're support assassination of journalists in Cambodia.

You're support political assassination and killing in Cambodia.

You're support attempted assassination and murder of leader of the free trade union in Cambodia.

You're support corruptions in Cambodia.

You're support murder of Piseth Pilika (Hun Sen's affaire).

You're support Hun Sen Regime burn poor people's house down to the ground and leave them homeless.

Hun Sen, Chea Sim and Heng Samrin was a former Khmer Rouge commanders.

Now, Hun Sen, Chea Sim and Heng Samrin are Khmer Rouge leaders, since their leader (Pol Pot) is dead.

From 1975 to 1979, these Khmer Rouge commanders responsible for killing 1.7 million innocent Khmer peoples in Cambodia.

From 1980 to present, these Khmer Rouge leaders responsible for killing innocent men, women and children on March 30, 1997, assassinated journalists, political assassination and killing, murder of Piseth Pilika (Hun Sen's affaire) and attempted assassinate and murder of leader of the free trade union in Cambodia.

When is the ECCC going to bring these three criminals to U.N. Khmer Rouge Tribunal?

Khmer Rouge Regime is a genocide organization.

Hun Sen Regime is a terrorist organization.
Hun Sen Bodyguards is a terrorist organization.
Hun Sen Death Squad is a terrorist organization.
Cambodian People's Party is a terrorist organization.

I have declare the current Cambodian government which is lead by the Cambodian People's Party as a terrorist organization.

Whoever associate with the current Cambodian government are associate with a terrorist organization.

Khmer Rouge Regime had committed:

War Crimes
Crimes Against Humanity
Overwork to Death
Assault and Battery

Cambodian People's Party Hun Sen Regime had committed:

Grenade Attack
Drive by Shooting
Death Threat
Human Rights Abuses
Human Trafficking
Drugs Trafficking
Under Age Child Sex
Mass Evictions
Land Grabbing
Illegal Firearms
Illegal Logging
Acid Attacks
Steal Votes
Violate the Constitution

These are the Trade Marks of Hun Sen's Khmer Rouge Regime.

Under Hun Sen Regime, no criminals that has been committed murder and all other crimes within Hun Sen's government have ever been brought to justice.

March 30, 1997

FBI investigation

U.S. Senate Investigation




I have a question for Hun Sen's government.
Since Hun Sen's government likes to assassinate innocent peoples.
Does Hun Sen's government have any plan to assassinate the U.N. Khmer Rouge Tribunal judges?

Information change without notice as it become available.