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Cambodia PM calls for halt to further genocide arrests

[JURIST] Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen [official profile] announced Monday that while he hoped no further potential war criminals would be tried in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia [ECCC] [official site], he would continue to support the court financially should international backers drop out. Sen, who has led the country for the past twenty years, said he fears further trials of those accused of war crimes during the period Khmer Rouge rule in the 1970s could tear the country apart and possibly even plunge it back into violence [AP report]. Sen's comments came in response to an announcement from investigators last week that more tribunal suspects may be arrested [CTV report].

The ECCC is in the midst of its first trial of a former Khmer Rouge leader - Kaing Guek Eav [TrialWatch backgrounder, JURIST news archive], also known as "Duch." A verdict in that case is expected [JURIST report] in early 2010. Kaing is the first of eight ex-Khmer Rouge officials expected to be tried before the ECCC, which recently announced the establishment of an independent counselor to oversee anti-corruption efforts [JURIST reports]. Last month Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] asked the ECCC to determine the scope of its prosecutions [JURIST report] "to thwart growing perceptions that court decisions are directed by the government." In February, HRW warned that ECCC trials were in danger of being tainted for their failure to follow fair trial standards, and in January a Cambodian court agreed to hear a corruption case [JURIST reports] involving two ECCC judges.

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