Tuesday, February 17, 2009
The UN-backed International Criminal Court for Cambodia (more properly called the "Extraordinary Chambers Resposible for the Prosecution of Crimes Committed by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia") made history today by holding a hearing in its first trial. On trial is Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, who is charged with crimes against humanity in connection with his supervision of a prison in the capital city of Phnom Penh during the rein of the Khmer Rouge where thousands of persons were allegedly tortured and killed. In a negotiated compromise between the the United Nations and Cambodia, the court uses a mixture of Cambodian and foreign judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys. The Court has been criticised for being slow to begin proceedings and had been hindered by allegations of corruption and political interference by the Cambodian government. It remains to be seen whether the Court can live up to the hope that it will bring justice to the victims of the Khmer Rouge regime.