Report

Memorandum on the Application of International Standards of Due Process by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

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Memorandum on the Application of International Standards of Due Process by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia 395.35 Kb, PDF Download
Date
April 1, 2006

As the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia for the Prosecution of Crimes Committed during the Period of Democratic Kampuchea are formed and begin to operate, a central issue frames the entire exercise: whether the Extraordinary Chambers will comply with international standards of due process. Since the Extraordinary Chambers are national courts in Cambodia, where issues of due process in the judicial procedures relating to criminal law have long been criticized as falling short of international standards of due process, it will be imperative for those standards to be implemented in the daily work of the Extraordinary Chambers. The unique structure and character of the Extraordinary Chambers—with international participation at all levels of the judicial process under a treaty arrangement with the United Nations—requires compliance with international standards of due process both as a matter of national and international law and as a practical reality if international support for the court is to be sustained during the years of its operation. The Open Society Justice Initiative has dedicated resources and expertise to assisting the Cambodians with the development of the Extraordinary Chambers and other rule of law priorities in the country. This memorandum is another step by the Justice Initiative to provide constructive advice on how the Extraordinary Chambers can remain faithful to international standards of due process in its rules and practice.

This paper makes no attempt to compare the rules set forth in Cambodia's law of criminal procedure with the international standards of due process, nor does it identify any gaps that might emerge from that exercise. The purpose of this memorandum is to understand the extent to which the special law and treaty governing the Extraordinary Chambers embrace international standards and how such standards have been established through international agreement and custom, particularly in recent decades. As the rules of procedure and evidence for the court are prepared and finalized, whether by legislative means in Cambodia or by the judges, and as the casework of the Extraordinary Chambers proceeds in coming years, it may be worthwhile to factor into deliberations some of the points raised in this memorandum.

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