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ECCC judges order prosecutor to retract public request for further investigations

Judges at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website] on Wednesday ordered [order, PDF] a prosecutor to retract statements requesting further investigation into those responsible for war crimes committed under the Khmer Rouge [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archives] regime. Co-Investigating Judges You Bunleng and Siegfried Blunk [official profiles] issued the order demanding that Co-Prosecutor Andrew Cayley retract his statement within three days. Cayley released a statement [press release] to the public that he had requested further investigation by the court into ECCC Case 3 [materials]. He said the information was released pursuant to tribunal rules "to ensure that the public is duly informed about ongoing ECCC proceedings." The judges, however, said Cayley breached the tribunal's confidentiality and ordered the retraction, though did not say what the penalty would be for failure to comply. Some critics believe that the investigation into ECCC Case 3 was ended prematurely [AP report] after demands by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen [BBC profile] to limit the prosecutions.

Last October, Hun Sen informed UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] in a meeting that the government will not allow [JURIST report] the prosecution of low-ranking Khmer Rouge officers by the ECCC. Earlier this week in ECCC Case 2 [materials], a panel of judges denied a motion for pretrial release [JURIST report] by former Khmer Rouge official Ieng Sary [ECCC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. Ieng, 85, served as deputy foreign minister under the Khmer Rouge regime during its reign in Cambodia from 1975-1979. Citing the ECCC rules and the Cambodian rules of criminal procedure, he argued that the court had no authority to detain a prisoner for more than three years without certain substantive rulings, making his detention illegal since November 2010. Ieng's co-defendants Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan and Ieng Thirith [ECCC backgrounders] have all challenged pretrial custody unsuccessfully. In March, Kaing Guek Eav [ECCC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], a former prison chief at the notorious Toul Sleng prison under the Khmer Rouge, better known as "Duch," appealed a 35-year sentence for war crimes and crimes against humanity handed down by the ECCC [JURIST reports] last July. The conviction was the court's first since its founding in 2006.

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