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Foreign judges in Khmer Rouge genocide trial may step down over procedures

[JURIST] Some non-Cambodian judges involved in the multinational Khmer Rouge [JURIST news archive] genocide trials may resign because of a protracted dispute over procedural rules among the various jurists overseeing the upcoming tribunal, the International Herald Tribune reported Thursday. Tribunal judges convened in November to establish court rules for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website] scheduled to begin trials for surviving Khmer Rouge leaders in mid-2007, but they failed to agree [JURIST report] on the Draft Internal Rules [text, PDF] and delayed making a final decision. The complexities of the rules come from proposed checks and balances that would allow the foreign and Cambodian judges to veto each other’s decisions. One provision currently under dispute does not contain such a check, and allows an indictment to move forward with only the foreign judges’ approval.

The Cambodian judges were appointed by and are answerable to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen [official profile], whose government includes former middle-ranking Khmer Rouge officials. Last month, Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] accused Sen of delaying the genocide tribunals and interfering with the tribunal's judicial independence [JURIST report], a charge which the Cambodian government denies [JURIST report]. The International Herald Tribune has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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