[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Wednesday called [press release] on the pre-trial chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website] to determine the scope of its prosecutions "to thwart growing perceptions that court decisions are directed by the government." HRW's urging comes in response to a statement made by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen [BBC profile] last week that the ECCC, a UN-backed tribunal assembled to try former Khmer Rouge [BBC backgrounder] leaders, should not prosecute any suspects beyond the five currently in custody. The ECCC has been plagued by accusations of corruption, and HRW has long stated that verdicts could be tainted due to failure to follow fair trial standards [JURIST report].
The ECCC is currently trying its first case against former Khmer Rouge leader Kaing Guek Eav [TrialWatch backgrounder, JURIST news archive], also known as "Duch." In June, the court found that Kaing had been unlawfully held [JURIST report] by a Cambodian military court for the past 10 years, but denied a defense request for his release. In late April, Kaing admitted to training prison staff to use torture [JURIST report] to obtain confessions from prisoners, after he accepted responsibility [JURIST report] for the deaths of 12,000 Cambodians in the S-21 prison camp [backgrounder].