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Top Cambodian KRouge trial officials to be investigated for graft [-Will it be a real investigation or just a show-investigation?]

Written By vibykhmer on Friday, January 9, 2009 | 2:36 PM

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Sean Visoth, Director of the Khmer Rouge tribunal's Office of Aministration

Saturday, January 10, 2009

PHNOM PENH (AFP) — A Phnom Penh court will hear a corruption complaint against top officials at the UN-backed Khmer Rouge war crimes tribunal, a judge told AFP Friday.

Chief judge of Phnom Penh Municipal Court Chev Keng said he would accept the complaint against Sean Visoth, the top government official at the court, and Keo Thyvuth, its former chief of personnel, lodged Thursday by defence lawyers.

The lawyers allege the pair have received kickbacks from court workers, but on Friday the tribunal's Cambodian judges released a statement denying any involvement.

The judges added the complaint "was causing confusion and seriously affecting the honour and dignity of all individual judges and this (Khmer Rouge tribunal) institution as a whole."

Thursday's complaint was lodged by international lawyers for Khmer Rouge "Brother Number Two" Nuon Chea, one of five former leaders due to stand trial.

They said the failure to address corruption allegations undermined Nuon Chea's right to a fair trial on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Last year the UN launched an investigation into allegations that Cambodian workers had been forced to pay for their jobs, and withheld at least 300,000 dollars in July funding and court salaries.

The investigation's findings were never made public but Keo Thyvuth was later transferred from the court and Sean Visoth put on leave.

The tribunal opened in 2006 after nearly a decade of wrangling between the United Nations and Cambodia.

It is expected to hear its first case within the next few months, against former Khmer Rouge prison chief Duch, whose real name is Kaing Guek Eav.

Up to two million people were executed or died of starvation and overwork as the communist Khmer Rouge dismantled modern Cambodian society during its 1975-1979 rule in a bid to forge an agrarian utopia.

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