ECCC Anti-Corruption Talks Continue

After an agreement was said to be nearing at midday, negotiations between the UN and Cambodian government on anti-corruption mechanisms at the Khmer Rouge tribunal ended without results Tuesday night, according to participants.

The meeting between Cabinet Minister Sok An and Peter Taksoe-Jensen, UN assistant secretary-general for legal affairs, will recommence today, they said.

The UN delegation was originally scheduled to leave Cambodia on Tuesday night but extended its stay due to what appears to be an im­passe in the talks.

Participants, however, remained tight-lipped about the negotiations, which they had claimed were moving in a positive direction Monday.

“There is no result from the discussions yet, and both sides are still negotiating and planning to talk more [today],” said Pen Ngoeurn, advisor at the Council of Ministers, declining to give any more details.

Taksoe-Jensen also declined to speak to reporters after the meeting that ended at around 6 pm, only saying talks were to continue today. He said Monday there had been “very good progress on the substance.”

This is the third time in four months that Taksoe-Jensen has met with Sok An over corruption reporting procedures at the Extra­or­dinary Cham­bers in the Courts of Cam­bodia. After their last meeting on Feb 23, the UN and Cambodian delegations issued a joint statement an­noun­cing a breakthrough in negotiations. They said then they had agreed to set up parallel mechanisms for staff on each side of the court to report kickback allegations and would finalize details by March 23. That deadline, however, lapsed without explanation from both parties beyond their saying that negotiations were ongoing. The UN ap­parent­ly fears that a split mechanism would bar Cambodian staffers from voicing their concerns to the UN and thus would not protect Cam­bodian whistleblowers.

When negotiations paused for lunch Tuesday, Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said the Feb 23 joint statement needed only “a little modification to make everybody happy” and that an agreement was near.

In the afternoon, Sok An and Taksoe-Jensen met alone without their delegations, according to a Council of Ministers official who declined to be named. All have declined to speak to reporters beyond that.


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