20 March 2013
The death on 14 March 2013, of Ieng Sary, one of the Accused in Case 002 of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), focuses attention on the critical importance of moving forward as expeditiously as possible with fair, efficient, and properly funded trial proceedings of the two remaining defendants.The advancing age of the defendants and the financial shortfalls in the national and international budgets of the ECCC compel immediate attention by all stakeholders.
The U.N. Secretary‐General’s Special Expert on United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials, Ambassador David Scheffer, and Deputy Prime Minister His Excellency Dr. Sok An, Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers and Chairman of the Task Force on the Khmer Rouge Trials, held a constructive meeting today following several days of preliminary discussions in Phnom Penh. Their objective has been to find a solution on funding matters that can enable the ECCC to complete its mission of achieving justice for crimes committed during the Khmer Rouge regime.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Special Expert recognise that the ECCC met important objectives in the successful completion of Case 001 of Kaing Guek Eav (Duch), the director of S‐21, who was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity and war crimes. Significant progress has been made in Case 002 where defendants Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan are being tried for some of the worst atrocities of modern times. The ECCC has engaged with and provided ongoing information to unprecedented numbers of the Cambodian population and to the world at large. During the six years of the ECCC’s operations, Cambodian judicial officers and staff have gained considerable experience in working in an environment of modern judicial administration guided by international standards of due process, while a number of these practices and procedures are being introduced in the domestic courts.
During the discussions the Deputy Prime Minister expressed his appreciation for the commitment of the national staff who have continued to carry out their duties during these very difficult times. If the ECCC were not able to fully discharge its mission, it would be a grave setback for the pursuit of justice and also would undo the considerable efforts over many years to provide some long awaited justice to the Cambodian people for atrocities committed between 1975‐1979.
Reductions totaling more than $6.5 million have been made in the domestic and international components of the ECCC’s revised 2013 budget. The immediate challenge now is to ensure full funding for the national and internationalcomponents of the budget and thus stabilise the ECCC’s operations and proceed
with a robust trial schedule for Case 002.