Press release

Nomination of United Nations Experts Marks Step Forward for Khmer Rouge Tribunal

Date
March 13, 2003
Contact
Jonathan Birchall
media@opensocietyfoundations.org
+1-212-547-6958

NEW YORK—The nomination by the United Nations of international legal experts to the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia is a major advance toward the establishment of the tribunal that will try Khmer Rouge leaders, the Open Society Justice Initiative said today.

As a hybrid tribunal, the Extraordinary Chambers will be staffed by both international and Cambodian judges, investigating judges and prosecutors.

"After years of protracted delay, this is a major sign of progress," said James A. Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative. "The UN's selection process was swift and transparent. Publicizing a short list of potential nominees-a first for the UN-improved input on candidate qualifications and underscored that broad public involvement is crucial."

The United Nation's list contains 12 nominees for international positions as judge or prosecutor. Cambodia's Supreme Council of the Magistracy will choose eight to serve, and will also select the Cambodian judges, investigative judges, and prosecutors who will join them on the Extraordinary Chambers.

"It is imperative that Cambodia's selection process be as transparent as the UN's," said Dr. Kelly Askin, senior legal officer at the Justice Initiative and a leading expert on the Extraordinary Chambers. "Many concerns about the Cambodian selection process can be alleviated if the Supreme Council of the Magistracy engages in a process that is both open and transparent. Cambodia has had years to draw up its short-list of candidates-it should immediately put those names forward for public vetting, and then select the most qualified and independent candidates."

The UN's list of nominees includes seven international judges, of whom two will be selected to the trial court and three to the appeals court that are part of the Extraordinary Chambers. Those nominees are: Silvia Cartwright (New Zealand), Martin Karopkin (United States), Chandra Nihal Jayasinghe (Sri Lanka), Jean-Marc Lavergne (France), Motoo Noguchi (Japan), Claudia Fenz (Austria), and Agnieszka Klonowiecka-Milart (Poland). The international nominees for the pretrial chamber are Rowan Downing (Australia) and Katinka Lahuis (The Netherlands).

The UN also nominated two potential co-prosecutors—Paul Coffey (United States) and Robert Petit (Canada)—of whom one will be selected. Also nominated by the UN as a co-investigating judge was Marcel Lemonde (France).

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