Marking the 30th anniversary of the toppling of the Khmer Rouge regime, New York-based Human Rights Watch issued a statement blasting the culture of impunity in Cambodia and blamed the government for the “stalled trials” of Khmer Rouge leaders at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.
“Despite more than three years of operations and the expenditure of approximately US$50 million, the UN-backed [tribunal] established to hold the Khmer Rouge accountable have held no trials,” Human Rights Watch said in the statement, which aimed its criticism squarely at Prime Minister Hun Sen.
The group also said that few believe there is any serious threat to the country’s stability if more Khmer Rouge suspects—beyond the current five detainees—are indicted by the ECCC.
“Under Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Cambodian government continues to obstruct the United Nations-supported court created to try senior Khmer Rouge leaders,” Human Rights Watch said.
“This is no accident. For more than a decade, China and the United States blocked efforts at accountability, and for the past decade Hun Sen has done his best to thwart justice.”
Nguon Nhel, National Assembly first vice president and a member of the CPP’s Permanent Committee, denied the accusations.
“The Cambodian government does not prevent UN support of the Khmer Rouge tribunal,” Nguon Nhel said Tuesday.
“Rather, we have supported the UN since 1993. If the government or the CPP obstructed the Khmer Rouge trial, we would not have spent so much time discussing with the UN and forming the court.”
“Samdech Hun Sen has never intervened with the Khmer Rouge tribunal because it is led by court power,” Nguon Nhel added.