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Khmer Rouge genocide tribunal selection process underway

[JURIST] Both the UN and Cambodia have submitted "short lists" of possible judges for the Khmer Rouge war crimes tribunal [task force website, in Cambodian; Yale CGP materials] that will be probing crimes against humanity by the Cambodian communist regime that allegedly killed millions in the 1970s and 80s. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan Thursday sent Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen [official profile] a list of 12 candidates [UN press release] for positions including two international judgeships in the trial chamber, three international judgeships in the appeals chamber, and two more in the pre-trial chamber. Meanwhile, a Cambodian spokesperson has said that the body's Cambodian prosecutors and ten judges will be finalized by the country's Supreme Council of Magistracy in a month or two. While a start date for the tribunal has not been set, officials hope to begin proceedings by 2007 [JURIST report].

In 2001, Cambodia passed a statute [text] authorizing the creation of a war crimes court. Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot passed away in 1998, but other key leaders are still living as free men, including second-in-command Nuon Chea, ex-head of state Khieu Samphan, and former Foreign Minister Ieng Sary [Wikipedia profile]. Two other top officials currently jailed and charged with genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity are Ta Mok [Trial Watch profile], the 78-year-old military chief known as "the Butcher" for his alleged role in mass killings, and Duch [Trial Watch profile], age 59, who ran an interrogation and torture center. Last month, a UN administrator urged a quick start to the trial [JURIST report], citing concerns that the health of several key defendants is deteriorating. Reuters has more.

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