Political Interference at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

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July 2010

This Open Society Justice Initiative report focuses on the judicial independence of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, and how political interference appears to be threatening the court's work.

Now, as the court completes its first case, prepares to try its second, and contemplates additional cases, it is essential to understand the extent to which the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) has succeeded in maintaining its independence.

This report begins with a brief exploration of the history of judicial independence in Cambodia and examines how the ECCC has struggled with its commitment to international fair trial standard in practice. It presents recommendations both to better safeguard independence at the ECCC and to inform the structure and performance of future international courts.

The Khmer Rouge Tribunal is charged with prosecuting senior leaders and those most responsible for mass crimes committed in Cambodia during the 1970s. Its unique structure as a court formally embedded in the Cambodian domestic system but with international participation at all levels is an experiment in the development of legal accountability for mass atrocities.


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