Putting Cambodia's Extraordinary Chambers into Context
Singapore Year Book of International Law, Vol. XI, 2007
34 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2009
Date Written: August 26, 2009
Things are moving swiftly in Cambodia these days, and this paper seeks to provide a timely and in-depth contextual analysis of the country's foray into Khmer Rouge accountability. The author takes the view that the Extraordinary Chambers must not be viewed in isolation, but must be examined as part of a domestic system of adjudication that was forged in the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge, and Cambodia's journey into socialism. The author takes issue, inter alia, with the many exuberant claims that the Extraordinary Chambers will be the vehicle to fix the multitude of wrongs in Cambodia, and that never before have the Khmer Rouge been subject to a process of accountability. Before engaging in close scrutiny of the Chambers, the substantial international law issues arising or likely to arise, as well as the procedural rules by which the criminal process is to be conducted, this paper examines the criminal proceedings brought against the top two Khmer Rouge leaders and the rank-and-file during the Vietnam-backed People's Republic of Kampuchea, as well as three high-profile Khmer Rouge trials that took place in the 1990s and 2000/2001. This comprehensive study concludes with a realistic assessment of what Cambodians and the world can reasonably expect of the Chambers.
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