The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee has called on the government to release the selection criteria and the short-list of possible Cambodian judicial officials for the Khmer Rouge tribunal, following the publication of the UN’s list of candidates on Thursday.
“Making the criteria for selection and the list of recommended candidates public prior to final appointment are important steps to increase public participation and confidence in the outcome of the tribunal,” the committee said in a statement.
The Supreme Council of Magistracy must appoint one Cambodian co-investigating judge, one co-prosecutor, and three judges to the trial chamber, four to the Supreme Court chamber and three to the pre-trial chamber.
Helen Jarvis, adviser to the government’s tribunal taskforce, said Sunday that the government would deliver the information in due course.
“The Cambodia criteria have been developed in a more detailed manner and have not yet been released. But it will be released, hopefully within a short period of time,” Jarvis said.
Sean Visoth, the newly appointed director of administration for the tribunal, was too busy to comment.
Sok Sam Oeun, executive director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, urged the government to release the information before making any appointments.
“Before the government appoints any judges, there must be time for the public to comment,” Sok Sam Oeun said. “At the least, we want [judges] with integrity, competence, [who are] clean and independent.”
Licadho President Kek Galabru said it was unclear on what basis judges would be selected.
“We have followed this issue since 1997 and we know nothing,” she said. “Normally, as the tribunal is a tribunal for all of us, as there are no secrets of the state, they should allow the people to know. We have the right to know, according to the Constitution,” she said.
In notes dated Friday and posted on his Web site, retired King Norodom Sihanouk suggested that the money required for the tribunal could be better spent.
“With 56.3 million US dollars, we could take out of famine and out of poverty our Little-People, in building for them water reservoirs, weirs, irrigation canals, dams, etc,” he wrote.
(Additional reporting by Thet Sambath)