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Anti-corruption measures needed to strengthen Cambodia genocide court: UN

[JURIST] UN and Cambodian government officials said Wednesday in a statement [UN News Center report] issued after a series of high-level meetings that they needed to address ongoing problems facing the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia [official website] in its efforts to try former Khmer Rouge officials suspected of crimes against humanity by "enhancing its human resources management, including anti-corruption measures." The statement, however, provided few details and a UN Secretariat delegation led by Assistant-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Peter Taksoe-Jensen cancelled a scheduled press conference [Asia Times report] before leaving Phnom Penh.

In September a New Zealand judge serving on the court warned colleagues and prosecutors [JURIST report] at a meeting of court officials that its upcoming genocide trials "are so important for the people of Cambodia [that they] must not be tainted by corruption." The court has thusfar received little funding from international donors partly due to allegations of kickbacks for positions and other irregularities [Phnom Penh Post report]. Outgoing US Ambassador Joseph Mussomeli [official profile] said in September that the US will begin providing direct financial aid to the ECCC once the tribunal takes adequate measures against corruption [JURIST report].

The ECCC plans to try as many as eight suspects [JURIST report] for their roles in the Khmer Rouge regime, which is generally held responsible for the genocide of an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians [PPU backgrounder] between 1975 and 1979. In June, court officials announced plans [JURIST report] to complete operations a year early because of limited funding but said they would still be able to prosecute all the suspects.

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