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Cambodia selects judges to try Khmer Rouge genocide cases

[JURIST] Cambodia's Supreme Council of Magistracy on Thursday appointed 30 judges to preside over the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia [KRT task force website; backgrounder], the joint Cambodia-UN tribunal that will try Khmer Rouge [Wikipedia backgrounder] leaders for genocide. Seventeen Cambodian and 13 international judges were selected, and a tribunal spokesman said that trial proceedings will begin next year. Two of those selected will serve as prosecutors, 14 as judges, with the rest sitting in reserve.

Last month, the UN urged a timely start [JURIST report] to the trials of aging Khmer Rouge leaders, who are alleged to be responsible for the deaths of approximately 1.7 million people by disease, forced labor, starvation, and execution during their 1975-1978 rule over Cambodia. 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. BBC News has more.

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