Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Khmer Rouge tribunal gets funds, case deadline extension

Khmer Rouge tribunal gets funds, case deadline extension

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A packed public gallery during the closing statement hearing in Case 002/02 in June. ECCC

Khmer Rouge tribunal gets funds, case deadline extension

Funds continue to flow for the Khmer Rouge tribunal, and the case against alleged former Khmer Rouge naval chief Meas Muth is moving forward even as the ultimate fate of the case still hangs in the balance, according to announcements made yesterday.

The prosecution and defence team for Muth were yesterday given a three-month deadline to file their final submissions but whether Case 003 against Muth, along with cases 004 against Yim Tith and 004/02 against Ao An, will actually go ahead remains unclear.

Co-investigating judges proposed halting those cases in May for the “sole reason” of “lack of funding”, a claim which several observers said likely masked more nefarious reasons in a court that has long been plagued by allegations of government interference.

Muth’s defence lawyer, Michael Karnavas said in email yesterday that the deadline on submissions was part of the expected procedures and showed there was no political pressure at play.

“The proper procedure is being followed contrary to all the naysayers about the [co-investigating judges] having succumbed to political interference by the Cambodian government, or that it has abandoned the victims and civil parties,” he said in an email.

Former Khmer Rouge navy chief and war-crimes suspect, Meas Muth smokes a cigarette at his house in Battambang province in 2015.
Former Khmer Rouge navy chief and war-crimes suspect, Meas Muth smokes a cigarette at his house in Battambang province in 2015. Vireak Mai

“There is a process in place. It may be taxing, confusing and uncharacteristically slow, but if not followed then there is a breakdown in the rule of law,” he said.

“How the case will end up remains to be seen. And that is how it should be. Otherwise, the decisions that have yet to come would be result-determinative and abhorrently preordained.”

Court spokesperson Hayat Abu-Saleh said no date had yet been set for a decision on whether Muth’s case would progress.

A decision was initially expected on June 30. Meanwhile, at the launch of a Khmer Rouge History app yesterday, European Union Ambassador George Edgar said the EU remained committed to supporting the Khmer Rouge tribunal to ensure there would be no “repetition of the horrors” of the regime and that the suffering of victims was recognised.

The EU recently pledged €10 million (about $11.7 million) to the tribunal from now until 2019, Edgar said. The tribunal has cost almost $300 million since it started operations a decade ago – with Japan, the United States and Australia the biggest donors.

This year, voluntary contributions are projected to reach almost $12.5 million, with up to $11 million in additional funds – an “exceptional” measure from the UN General Assembly – to supplement the donor funding.

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,