Tuesday, 19.8.2008: Cambodian Section of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Creates Mechanism against Corruption

Posted on 20 August 2008. Filed under: Week 574 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 574

“Phnom Penh: A Mechanism against corruption, a committee at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, was created on 15 August 2008 by the Cambodian section of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, in order to receive complaints from Khmer staff who face, see, or hear that corruption is committed in this institution. Mr. Reach Sambath, the spokesperson of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, said last week that the mechanism against corruption is led by two high ranking officials of the tribunal – Judge Kong Srim, the president of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, and Ms. Helen Jarvis, the head of the Public Affairs Office of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, who act as observers and as complaint receivers.

“According to Mr. Reach Sambath this mechanism was created to suppress corruption at the Cambodian section of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, as there were such accusations again and again; although previous audits had not showed that there was corruption at the tribunal, last week there was again an accusation that there was corruption among Khmer staff, and officials of the United Nations reported that its internal oversight office in New York is checking complaints regarding corruption lodged by Khmer staff. The accused corruption is that staff of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal of the Cambodian side had to pay one part of their salaries as kickback to officials of the Royal Government so that they could receive position at the Cambodian-UN mixed court created to try former Khmer Rouge leaders.

“Mr. Reach Sambath said the creation of a mechanism on the Cambodian side against corruption was welcomed by more than 250 employees of the tribunal who attended a meeting last Friday. In that meeting, the Judge Prak Kim San, head of the ECCC Pre-Trial Chamber, was quoted by Mr. Reach Sambath as saying, ‘When I came to work here, I heard about accusations regarding corruption. It is a shame for our tribunal, and we must create a mechanism to suppress it.’ Mr. Prak Kim San added, ‘Those who had given money to them [officials of the government] must stop, and those [officials of the government] who had received money have to be prepared to go to jail.’ Also, Mr. You Bunleng, a co-investigating judge, stated, ‘Those who had given money are wrong, and those who had received money must be punished.’ As for Mr. Kong Srim, the President of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, who has been appointed to be head of the observers of the ethics monitoring group, was quoted also by Mr. Reach Sambath that he pledged to successfully achieve the action against corruption, calling on the Khmer staff of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, ‘Anyone who sees and hears about corruption, please report to me (through named letters or anonymously – all that will be checked), and I will punish those who have committed wrongdoings.’

“Because of the corruption accusations, the United Nations Development Program [UNDP], which administers one part of the donor funds for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, had ruled to suspend the salary payment funds of the Khmer staff of US$300,000 temporally. The postponement created problems for the Cambodian side to provide salaries to its staff for July, but this was then solved, after Japan allowed the Cambodian side to use Japanese funds to provide the salaries to the staff. Regarding the creation of a mechanism against corruption, a UNDP spokesperson said Saturday, that the UNDP has not yet received any information. When asked when +UNDP will release the suspended salaries to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, [another UNDP staff] Mr. Men Kimseng said they cannot yet say that.

“The creation of a mechanism against corruption has been cautiously welcomed by officials of civil society organizations who work with Khmer Rouge cases. Mr. Chhang Youk, the director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, said that the creation of such a mechanism is good to provide trust and a positive posture towards different donor countries and to shows cooperation with them, while they are concerned that there is corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. However, the creation of a mechanism against corruption was considered by Mr. Chhang Youk also to be a problem. He explained that it will make donor countries to lose trust, because the current corruption is systemic, and the creation of a mechanism will make the problem bigger. The director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia said, ‘I think it would be better if the Khmer Rouge Tribunal would create better mechanisms to deal with its administration.’

“Mr. Sok Sam Oeun, the director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, said that the creation of a mechanism against corruption might somewhat increase the donor countries’ trust, but as for him, he does not believed that it is an efficient mechanism against corruption, because previously, we always created different institutions, but there was no implementation. Nevertheless, Mr. Sok Sam Oeun waits to see future results, saying, ‘If there is really a clear intention, they will achieve their goal.’

“As for Ms. Pong Chiv Kek, also known as Dr. Kek Galabru, the director of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights – LICADHO – she said that the creation of a mechanism is good, but it is not sufficient yet; there must be further clear investigations to see whether there was corruption, as charged, or not, so that donor countries trust again and provide more aid, in order that the process of the tribunal to try former Khmer Rouge leaders can proceed to the end.

The director of the Office of Administration of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia promised to resign if corruption where he is involved is found

“Mr. Sean Visoth, the director of the Office of Administration for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, was quoted by Mr. Reach Sambath during the meeting for the creation of the mechanism against corruption last Friday as saying that he will resign, if there is corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, especially if there is any case which relates to himself. Mr. Sean Visoth said his many years’ efforts aimed to make the Khmer Rouge Tribunal to proceed smoothly, and if there are such corruption accusations, he is disappointed. Mr. Sean Visoth pledged in front of Khmer and foreign staff last Saturday, ‘If there were corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal and especially, if it relates to me, I will resign.’ Regarding the promise by Mr. Sean Visoth, Mr. Reach Sambath said that the director of the Office of Administration for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia considers the fight against corruption as a major issue.

“Mr. Chhang Youk considered the promise by the director of the Office of Administration for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia to resign to be a too big promise that is beyond what the donor countries expect regarding the accusation that some kickback had to be paid by staff members. However, Mr. Chhang Youk said that the director of the Office of Administration for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia wanted to show his good will to cooperate honestly, so that the tribunal moves ahead. As for Ms. Pong Chiv Kek, she considered the promise by Mr. Sean Visoth to resign if he was found involved in corruption to be a good thing, but the corruption issue does not relate to individual persons only. Therefore, the promise is not sufficient, and there must be clear investigations with proofs, in order to regain confidence. Ms. Pong Chiv Kek said that the corruption issue should not become an obstacle for the work to seek justice for the victims who are anxiously waiting for it; there should be careful investigations.

“However, Mr. Reach Sambath, the spokesperson of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, stressed that what the Khmer Rouge Tribunal has tried so far, including the creation of a mechanism against corruption, show that the tribunal thinks highly about the fight against corruption, so that everyone can focus on the work to seek justice for the victims, because this is most important for human beings.” Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #76, 19.8.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 19 August 2008


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1723, 19.8.2008

  • [Thai Prime Minister] Samak Visited the Preah Vihear Temple Area [on 18 August] While [Minister of Cambodian Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] Hor Namhong and [Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs] Tej Bunnag Had a Private Meeting


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #76, 19.8.2008

  • Cambodian Section of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Creates Mechanism against Corruption
  • The Mekong Times [Phnom Penh] Decides to Suspend Its Publication [after six months for lack of financial resources]
  • Report [of the Council for the Development of Cambodia] Says Investments from Abroad Increase but Local Investments Decline


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3542, 19.8.2008

  • Village Chiefs and Commune and Subdistrict Clerks Provide Information to Mr. Sam Rainsy about Irregularities in Issuing Form 1018 [election ID papers]


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4671, 19.8.2008

  • [Cambodian] Soldiers at Ta Moan Thom Temple Get Sick and Need Emergency Aid [malaria – Oddar Meanchey]
  • Kompong Cham Authority Takes More Than Riel 700 Million [approx. US$175,000] to Help Forces Who Protect Preah Vihear Temple
  • 450 Families at Boeng Kak Lake Area Demand Housing and US$5,000 [in exchange for leaving the area – Phnom Penh]


Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3388, 19.8.2008

  • Sam Rainsy and [Human Rights Party President] Kem Sokha Curse Samdech Krom Preah [Norodom Ranariddh] After Sam Rainsy Had Boasted about Getting 60 Seats and Kem Sokha Had Boasted about Getting 50 Seats
  • Funcinpec Leaders Tell Their Provincial and Town Officials that There Is No Reshuffle
  • Disappointed Funcinpec Group Wants to Return to Samdech Krom Preah

Click here to have a look at the last editorial – apprehension in the Post-Election Period while waiting for the official election results and a new government

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[…] Tuesday, 19.8.2008: Cambodian Section of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal …“Phnom Penh: A Mechanism against corruption, a committee at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, was created on 15 August 2008 by the Cambodian section of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, in order to receive complaints from Khmer staff who face, see, … […]


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