Cambodia genocide court appoints new co-prosecutor

[JURIST] The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website] named [press release] a new head co-prosecutor Wednesday after the September resignation [JURIST report] of Canadian Robert Petit. UK lawyer Andrew Cayley, who will serve alongside a Cambodian prosecutor, has previously been in private practice defending alleged war criminal Charles Taylor [JURIST news archive] in The Hague. He also served as Senior Prosecuting Counsel at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] from 2001-2005 where he was responsible for the continuing investigation against Ratko Mladic [JURIST news archive]. Cayley takes over for William Smith of Australia, who had been serving as acting co-prosecutor [JURIST report]. American Nicholas Koumjian has been appointed as reserve co-prosecutor [AP report].

The ECCC, charged with trying those responsible for atrocities committed during the rule of the Khmer Rouge [BBC backgrounder], has been faced with numerous allegations of corruption. On Tuesday, the court rejected a motion for a probe into allegations of judicial bias [JURIST report]. In August 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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