Tensions Rise in Khmer Rouge Tribunal Feud

Posted March 26th, 2012 at 9:05 am (UTC-5)
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A feud between judges on the Khmer Rouge war crimes tribunal erupted anew on Monday, with a Cambodian judge welcoming the resignation of a European counterpart who quit last week complaining of improper interference in ongoing probes.

Cambodian co-investigating Judge You Bunleng, in a lengthy statement, said he is convinced the resignation of Swiss Judge Laurent Kaspar-Ansermet shows he is “taking responsibility for his professional as well as his procedural misconduct.”

Last week, Kaspar-Ansermet said he could not continue his duties because of repeated challenges to his authority from You Bunleng.

The tribunal has been marred by allegations of political interference by the Phnom Penh government, which is on record as opposing any new investigations of Khmer Rouge suspects. You Bunleng has been reluctant to pursue two new investigations, while Kasper-Ansermet wanted to press ahead with the cases.

The tribunal has already sentenced one former Khmer Rouge official to life in prison, and is currently hearing a second case against the group's three top surviving leaders. The trio faces charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the deaths of some 1.7 million Cambodians who died under Khmer Rouge rule in the 1970s.