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Cambodia genocide judges not yet agreed on trial rules

[JURIST] Officials with the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website] said Saturday that a meeting of the tribunal's judges [press release, PDF] convened to consider Draft Internal Rules [rules text] for pending genocide trials of former Khmer Rouge [JURIST news archive] leaders had failed to reach agreement on the regulations and that further meetings would be necessary. The rules cover every phase of the trials including investigation procedures, trial motions, appeals, and role of the parties involved with the trial. The disagreements on the rules, which have also been targeted by a number of rights groups, primarily center in how to integrate Cambodian law into international tribunal standards. Earlier this week, Amnesty International recommended that discussions on the rules be extended [press release], claiming that the draft regulations inadequately protected victims and witnesses, made only vague provision for reparations, and did not fully incorporate prohibitions against trials in absentia. The genocide trials are nonetheless still expected to begin in 2007 [JURIST report].

The ECCC 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].

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