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UN reviewing Khmer Rouge tribunal after corruption allegations

[JURIST] The UN Development Programme [official website] ordered an audit [AFP report] Wednesday of the human resources practices of the Extraordinary Chamber of the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website], the international tribunal established to try former Khmer Rouge officials, in response to reports of corruption. The Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) [advocacy website], which helped train ECCC judges, publicized the corruption allegations [press release] last week, saying that "Cambodian court personnel, including judges, must kick back a significant percentage of their wages to Cambodian government officials in exchange for their positions on the court." In response, a tribunal official severed all ties with the OSJI. AP has more.

The ECCC was established by a 2001 law [PDF text] to investigate and try those responsible for the 1975-79 Cambodian genocide that led to the deaths of at least 1.5 million Cambodians by execution, forced hardship or starvation. To date, no top Khmer Rouge officials have faced trial and questions have been raised concerning exactly how many of the Khmer Rouge's top officials will face the tribunal, as several of those responsible for the genocide have recently died [JURIST report] and others are in failing health. The prosecutors nonetheless face significant administrative, legal and linguistic obstacles in preparing cases for trial; their formal investigations only began in July [JURIST report] of last year.

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