The United Nations and the Cambodian government are glaring at each other over the “issue” of the UN appointing Swiss national Laurent Kasper-Ansermet to become a war crimes tribunal judge over the Khmer Rouge trials that have put former Khmer Rouge leaders and officials on trial for the Cambodian genocide that killed over 2 million innocents and produced the so called Killing Fields of Cambodia during Pol Pot’s regime.
It all started after the resignation of a former tribunal judge and German national Siegfried Blunt who said he was quitting due to “political interference” from the Cambodian government during the tribunal.
Now, the United Nations has appointed Kasper-Ansermet to become Blunt’s replacement much to the Cambodian government’s chagrin.
Top officials of the Cambodian government reportedly dislike and oppose the appointment of Kasper-Ansermett due to his Twitter tweets that called attention to controversial Cases 003 and 004 which the Cambodian government does not want to have opened up due to political sensitivity.
Cases 003 and 004 involve two unidentified suspects who have widely been speculated to be former Khmer Rouge military officials heavily involved in the genocide.
The Cambodian government, headed by Prime Minister Hun Sen who himself was a former Khmer Rouge soldier, is very much against opening up these two cases.
However, according to treaty signed between the UN and Cambodia regarding the war crimes tribunal, Cambodia does not have the authority to block Kasper-Ansermet’s appointment.
However, without Cambodia’s cooperation in the tribunal, the UN-Cambodia tribunal has virtually no steam to run on and will have to halt.
Currently, the tribunal is on Case 002 which has indicted three former high-ranking Khmer Rouge officials of war crimes, genocide and so on.
The tribunal has only handed out one sentence since its inception in 2005. Kaing Guek Eav who was accused of having a major role in the Cambodian genocide and having a hand in torturing tens of thousands of people received a 19 year sentence in prison.
(Cover Photo: ECCC)