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Dysfunctional Khmer Rouge tribunal says judge resigns

Published: 19-Mar-12 09:52PM

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PHNOM PENH (Cambodia Herald) - The Khmer Rouge tribunal announced Monday the resignation of Judge Laurent
Kasper-Ansermet, the international reserve co-investigating judge whose appointment Cambodia has declined to confirm.

A statement said the Swiss judge had already tendered his resignation to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and that it would take effect on May 4.

The tribunal has become so "dysfunctional" that the judge can no longer "properly and freely perform his duties," it said.

The UN-backed tribunal, known as the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), recalled that the Swiss judge had succeeded Dutch judge Siegfried Blunk, who also resigned, in November last year.

It also noted that the position "warranted" the conduct of judicial investigations into two cases based on introductory submissions filed by co-prosecutors in 2008.

Kasper-Ansermet has issued several decisions, notified the suspects in these two cases and will conduct interviews with civil parties this week, the statement said.

The ECCC added that the judge's authority to investigate the two cases has been "constantly contested" by National Co-Investigating Judge You Bunleng.

The Cambodian judge's "active opposition to investigations into cases 003 and 004 has led to a dysfunctional situation within the ECCC," the statement said, adding that "a description of the situation will be published."

The statement also said that Kasper-Ansermet had opened an internal investigation for "interference with the administration of justice."

Kasper-Ansermet recently organised an informal meeting with Judge You Bunleng who refused to discuss the two cases, the statement said.

On 27 February, the Cambodian judge subsequently demanded that Laurent Kasper-Ansermet immediately cease his “unlawful activity”, an ultimatum that was reiterated last week.

"In view of the victims’ right to have investigations conducted in a proper manner and despite his determination to do so, Judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet considers that the present circumstances no longer allow him to properly and freely perform his duties," the statement said.

"He has tendered his resignation with effect from 4 May 2012 and will not order any further investigations into cases 003 and 004 once those currently under way are concluded."

The ECCC concluded by saying that the Swiss judge "strongly reiterates his hope that, in the interests of the Cambodian people and international justice, a solution enabling the ECCC to properly fulfil its important mandate will be found."

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