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Cambodia genocide prosecutor expects to hand cases to judge by year's end

[JURIST] Canadian prosecutor Robert Petit [Globalpolicy.org profile], one of the two active prosecutors for the Cambodian genocide tribunal that will try former leaders of the Khmer Rouge [JURIST news archive], told a meeting of international prosecutors at The Hague Friday that the prosecution team will be ready to present cases to an investigating judge by the end of the year and that trials will commence in 2007. Petit also said that the court [Trial Task Force website; judicial officers], consisting of 17 Cambodian and 10 foreign judges and prosecutors, is aiming to have its work concluded within three years, due to budgetary constraints.

The Extraordinary Chambers of Cambodia (EC) [EC backgrounder] was established by a 2001 law [PDF text] to investigate and try those responsible for the 1975-79 Cambodian genocide that led to the deaths of at least 1.5 million Cambodians by execution, forced hardships or starvation in the so-called "Killing Fields." To date, no top Khmer Rouge officials have faced trial and questions have been raised concerning exactly how many of the Khmer Rouge's top officials will face the tribunal, as several of those responsible for the genocide have died [JURIST report] in recent months and others are in failing health. The prosecutors nonetheless face significant administrative, legal and linguistic obstacles in preparing cases for trial; their formal investigations only began in July [JURIST report]. Reuters has more.

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