Three never went to college. One has been charged as part of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s “iron fist” clampdown on corruption in the judiciary.
One ordered the eviction of 218 families in Poipet commune that resulted in police killing five villagers.
And one cleared Hun Sen’s nephew, Nhim Sophea, of all wrong-doing in a car crash and shooting that left three people dead.
These are only some of the 31 judges, prosecutors and court officials “shortlisted” by the Supreme Council of Magistracy to preside over the Khmer Rouge tribunal, a government official said Tuesday.
“These judges and prosecutors have been shortlisted for jurisdiction over the Extraordinary Chambers,” said Sean Visoth, secretary of the government’s Khmer Rouge tribunal taskforce.
The court officials are currently attending a two-week training session at the Royal School for Judges and Prosecutors on how courts like the future Khmer Rouge tribunal operate.
The list of participants, obtained Tuesday, has been kept secret since plans to hold the UNDP-funded training session—the second in the past year—came to light in March.
While no decisions on which court officials will actually be involved in the tribunal have been made, the government and the UNDP have refused to identify those selected to attend the training course.
Included in the list are: Appeals Court Judge Thou Mony, who released Nhim Sophea last August; Phnom Penh Municipal Court Chief Prosecutor Ouk Savuth, who has been charged in Hun Sen’s “iron fist” clampdown; and Banteay Meanchey provincial court Chief Prosecutor Nhoung Thol, who ordered the Poipet eviction.
“The council have their reasons for choosing them,” Sean Visoth said.
UNDP Country Representative Douglas Gardner declined to comment, saying the issue was between the UN in New York and the government’s taskforce.
But a UNDP representative who asked not to be named maintained that the course has nothing to do with the tribunal.
“This course is to teach international law, full stop,” the representative said.
Prosecutor Nhoung Thol admitted the seminar dealt with laws relating to genocide, but said, “It is just general training.”
“They teach about humanitarian law and genocide law, because some Khmer judges don’t know about [such laws],” he said.