He looks out from the picture, a slight man in a loose shirt, a pen in his pocket, the jungle stretching behind him. The photograph was taken after murders he was accused of committing when the Khmer Rouge swept through this nation decades ago in a reign of fevered killing and mass graves.
No one knows whether the man, Ao An, a former Buddhist monk now in his 80s, will ever face a reckoning on charges that he oversaw the genocide of the Cham ethnic minority during the 1970s. After nearly two decades, $300 million spent and only three convictions, a special United Nations-backed court established to try leaders of the murderous Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia appears to have ground to a halt.
The three remaining cases are stuck in limbo due to opposition from Cambodian court officials and the country’s authoritarian prime minister, Hun Sen, a former Khmer Rouge commander. The Cambodian officials on the hybrid tribunal — which includes judges and lawyers from both Cambodia and overseas — have stonewalled Ao An’s case.