CHRAC STATEMENT: The ECCC at the Cross Road: Obligations to Ensure Road to Justice Completely Achieved
ADHOC, as a member of CHRAC, releases the following statement.
“The ECCC at the Cross Road: Obligations to Ensure Road to Justice
Phnom Penh, 6 March 2013
The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC)—a coalition of 21 NGO members—is very concerned at the pending unsolved financial shortfall at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), particularly on the national side, by the responsible authorities and the slow judicial developments of Cases at the tribunal.
The recent boycott by the ECCC’s Translation Unit staff and the previous statements released by the Office of Administration have demonstrated that the lack of fund continues to become a major concern and will negatively affect the performance and commitment by the employees working at the tribunal. It seems that on one hand the tribunal is now at the cross-road of facing both serious financial crisis and of addressing the efficiency and effectiveness of the current trials. On the other hand, the deteriorating and fragile health problem of the accused: Ieng Sary (87 years old), Nuon Chea (86 years old) and Khieu Samphan (81 years old), have frequently been unable to attend the scheduled hearings since the trials started in late 2009. The three accused are charged with serious crimes; namely crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Convention 1948 and genocide.
The present ECCC Establishment Agreement signed by the United Nations and the Royal Government of Cambodia in 2003 indicates that both parties need to ensure the smooth operation of the tribunal in fulfilling its mission to bring to justice the senior leaders and the most responsible persons for the serious crimes and violations committed during the period of 17 April 1975 to 6 January 1979. Article 15 of the Agreement clearly spells out that “Salaries and emoluments of the Cambodian judges and Cambodian personnel shall be defrayed by the Royal Government of Cambodia”. Whereas, Article 16 of the same Agreement stipulates that “Salaries and emoluments of the international judges, the international co-investigating judge, the international co-prosecutor and other personnel recruited by the United Nations shall be defrayed by the United Nations.”
Taking this obligation, the current operation of Case 002 trials, and the aging defendants’ health problem into account, it is necessary that this tribunal needs to move ahead smoothly without any disturbance or obstructions by all means to ensure that the tribunal’s mission to bring justice for the victims and survivors as it aims for.
We understand the fact that there is a need for all ECCC staffs to get their salaries in exchange of the job they do. Therefore, there is an obligation on the tribunal’s Administration Office, to seek financial supports from both the Cambodian Government and the United Nations for guaranteeing the whole judicial process from the beginning till the end is not unduly disrupted.
CHRAC, therefore, strongly urges the Royal Government of Cambodia to fulfill its obligation and cooperation with the United Nations as stated in the present Agreement to financially support the work of the Court, particularly on the national side, in addition to its in-kind contribution. Because it aims to bring justice for the many victims of the Khmer Rouge and to ensure that the ECCC will leave positive legacies for the domestic legal and judicial system.
We also appeal to the United Nations and the donors to continue frank cooperation as mentioned in the Agreement to provide the much-needed financial support to the ECCC to ensure that the current crisis will not lead to a negative outcome and in turn jeopardize the current efforts and the justice process at the ECCC.
For further information, please contact:
Mr. Sok Sam Oeun
Chairman of CHRAC and Executive Director of Cambodian Defenders Project (CDP) Tel: 012 901 199
Mr. Thun Saray
President of Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) Tel: 016 440 044
Mr. Run Saray
Executive Director of Legal Aid of Cambodia (LAC)
Tel: 012 838 341
Mr. Mak Chamroeun
President of Khmer Youth Association (KYA)
Tel: 097 4445 777