As controversy builds over the refusal of Cambodian police to act on arrest warrants in two government-opposed cases at the Khmer Rouge tribunal, International Co-Investigating Judge Mark Harmon on Tuesday announced his resignation from the court.
According to documents declassified by the court in recent weeks, Judge Harmon has unsuccessfully and repeatedly sought the arrest of former regime navy chief Meas Muth and district commander Im Chaem in Case 003 and 004 over the past year.
Judge Harmon announced his resignation in a statement on Tuesday.
“It is with considerable regret that I have tendered my resignation, for strictly personal reasons, with effect as of the date upon which my successor has been sworn into office,” Judge Harmon said in the statement.
“It was an honor to have been selected to serve as the International Co-Investigating Judge in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia and to have had the privilege, along with my international and Cambodian colleagues, to pursue justice on behalf of the many victims who suffered at the hands of the Khmer Rouge,” he said.
Khmer Rouge tribunal spokesman Lars Olsen said that no date had been set for Judge Harmon’s departure from the court, and that the decision was completely unrelated to recent developments at the court.
“The resignation was tendered more than two months ago, so that’s why I would like to emphasize this has nothing to do with the more recent development in the cases,” Mr. Olsen said.
Judge Harmon was appointed as international co-investigating judge in July 2012, months after the resignation of his predecessor, Laurent Kasper-Ansermet, who said National Co-Investigating Judge You Bunleng had thwarted his efforts to investigate the two cases openly opposed by the government.
Judge Kasper-Ansermet’s predecessor, Siegfried Blunk, resigned in October 2011 amid mounting criticism over his seeming disinclination to investigate the two cases.
Before working at the Khmer Rouge tribunal, Judge Harmon, an American prosecutor, worked for 17 years as a trial attorney at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.