COMMENTARY: At the ECCC: The Reputation of the ECCC as a “Model Court” Is Well Established with Case 001 and Case 002
AKP Phnom Penh, October 25, 2011 –
Among the 4 purposes of the United Nations, under Article 1 of the Charter, maintaining international peace and security and taking effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace should not have been overlooked by people of great mind and intellect when they debate issues concerning Cambodia, in particular the issues of “the pursuit of justice and national reconciliation, stability, peace and security.”
It took many years of negotiations between the Cambodian government and the United Nations, out of great concerns of fragile peace achieved in the early 90’s and strong possibilities of the renewal of war between the remnant elements of the Khmer Rouge forces and the government armed forces, until the two parties have agreed on the establishment of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) signed on 6 June 2003 and ratified by the Cambodian National Assembly on 19 October 2004. The mission of the ECCC is to bring justice to millions of Cambodian people, killed or starved to death by the Khmer Rouge regime while maintaining peace, security, political stability in the country.
The ECCC is a Cambodian court established pursuant to an agreement between the Royal Government of Cambodia and the United Nations to try senior members of the Khmer Rouge for serious violations of Cambodian penal law, international humanitarian law and custom and violation of international conventions recognized by Cambodia during the period between 17 April 1975 and 6 January 1979.
The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution of 18 December 2002 “recognized the legitimate concern of the government and people of Cambodia in the pursuit of justice and national reconciliation, stability, peace and security.”
It is clear from the UNGA resolution, that “the government and people of Cambodia” must determine the case(s) for trial by the ECCC, not the other way around. Faithful to the UNGA resolution “The government and people of Cambodia” have determined that case 001 and case 002 are the subjects of trial by the ECCC. The judicial process begins with the investigation pertaining to those cases and followed by due processes established by the ECCC.
The so-called case 003 and case 004 could have been the results of manipulation, pressure and possibly compromise at the ECCC, which are not in conformity with the UNGA resolution of 18 December 2002. If “the government and people of Cambodia” have never determined that case 003 and case 004 are subjects of trial by the ECCC, then there are no case 003 and 004. They are like “virus” that spoils the computer and the whole system. If this was the case, the debate surrounding judge Blunk resignation, and the allegation that the Cambodian government is putting pressure on the ECCC judicial processes are futile exercise of human’s stubbornness of a certain number of people, lawyers, academicians, leaders of NGOs, who pretend to seek justice for Cambodian people, but in reality they have the villain agenda to discredit and to fault the Royal Government of Cambodia. The UNGA resolution of 18 December 2002 is the bedrock of the ECCC.
The reputation of the ECCC as a “model court” is well established with case 001 and case 002, and the integrity of the ECCC has been demonstrated by the conduct of the ECCC in case 001 and certainly in case 002, which will begin in late November this year.
Cambodian affairs analyst
Cambodian Peace and Reconciliation Institute
(The comments are solely the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Royal Government of Cambodia.)