Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Sok An, Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers, held a constructive meeting here this morning with visiting UN Secretary-General’s Special Expert on United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials, Ambassador David Scheffer.
The meeting mainly focused on finding a solution on funding matters that can enable the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) to complete its mission of achieving justice for crimes committed during the Khmer Rouge regime, indicated the Joint Statement released after the meeting.
The death on Mar. 14, 2013, of Ieng Sary, one of the Accused in Case 002 of the ECCC, focuses attention on the critical importance of moving forward as expeditiously as possible with fair, efficient, and properly funded trial proceedings of the two remaining defendants, said the Joint Statement, adding that the advancing age of the defendants and the financial shortfalls in the national and international budgets of the ECCC compel immediate attention by all stakeholders.
According to the Joint Statement, the Deputy Prime Minister and Special Expert recognize that the ECCC met important objectives in the successful completion of Case 001 of Kaing Guek Eav (Duch), the director of S-21, who was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity and war crimes. Significant progress has been made in Case 002 where defendants Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan are being tried for some of the worst atrocities of modern times. The ECCC has engaged with and provided ongoing information to unprecedented numbers of the Cambodian population and to the world at large.
During the six years of the ECCC’s operations, Cambodian judicial officers and staff have gained considerable experience in working in an environment of modern judicial administration guided by international standards of due process, while a number of these practices and procedures are being introduced in the domestic courts, it said.
H.E. Sok An, who is also Chairman of the Task Force on the Khmer Rouge Trials, expressed his appreciation for the commitment of the national staff who have continued to carry out their duties during these very difficult times.
If the ECCC were not able to fully discharge its mission, it would be a grave setback for the pursuit of justice and also would undo the considerable efforts over many years to provide some long awaited justice to the Cambodian people for atrocities committed between 1975-1979, the Joint Statement underlined.
Reductions totaling more than US$6.5 million have been made in the domestic and international components of the ECCC’s revised 2013 budget. The immediate challenge now is to ensure full funding for the national and international components of the budget and thus stabilize the ECCC’s operations and proceed with a robust trial schedule for Case 002.