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Cambodia bar association says genocide judges delaying Khmer Rouge justice

[JURIST] The Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia (BAKC) Monday denounced a threatened boycott by four international judges appointed to the tribunal set to prosecute former Khmer Rouge [MIPT backgrounder; JURIST news archive] leaders for genocide as a "childish game" and an excuse to delay the anticipated tribunal. The judges from the Extraordinary Chamber of the Courts of Cambodia [official website] said they would not appear for tribunal preparations unless the bar association lifted fees for foreign lawyers who plan to participate [JURIST report] in the trials. The Cambodian Bar has imposed an initial $500 membership application fee for foreign lawyers and an additional $2,000 payment if they are selected to actually represent a client. The judges contend that the fees will hinder victims and those accused of genocide from choosing their own counsel and have threatened to boycott a planning meeting on rules for the tribunal scheduled for next month unless the fee issue is appropriately settled.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) [advocacy website] has also criticized the fee structure [press release], calling the payments "exorbitant" and "immoral," and has accused the bar association of slowing the tribunal process rather than the judges. Cambodia's 1975-79 Khmer Rouge regime was responsible for the deaths of over 1.7 million people from genocide, disease and malnutrition. AP has more.

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