ECCC Will Host War Crimes Prosecutor Conference

The Open Society Institute has agreed to fund a $60,000 conference for prosecutors from international criminal tribunals around the world, planned for September at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, court officials said Monday.

ECCC co-prosecutors Robert Petit and Chea Leang will host the fourth annual conference, which was previously held in Tanzania, The Hague and Sierra Leone.

Prosecutors and their senior staff from the international tribunals in Rwanda and the former Yugo­slavia, the Special Court of Sierra Leone and the International Crim­inal Court in The Hague will be invited to attend, Petit said.

“This will help put the Khmer Rouge tribunal forward in the public attention,” Petit said. “Hopefully by then, we will be in the thick of it,” he said. “It will help remind everyone how important the work we’re doing here is,” he added.

Most of the conference will consist of closed-door discussions. ECCC co-Prosecutor Chea Leang said the conference would be an important opportunity for ECCC officials to learn from the experiences of prosecutors at other courts. “We can draw on their ideas and experience to find solutions for any upcoming problems related to the trial,” she said.

The Open Society Institute, a New York-based foundation created by US financier George Soros, also funds the Open Society Justice Initiative, an NGO that has been embroiled in controversy over its monitoring work at the ECCC since it publicized allegations of corruption at the court in February.

OSJI helped the ECCC secure funding for the conference this year, Petit said.

OSJI’s Phnom Penh-based trial monitor Heather Ryan said she was pleased that the co-prosecutors will be hosting the conference.

“It will bring important public attention to the work of the ECCC,” she said.

(Additional reporting by Kay Kimsong)


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