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Corruption watchdog picked for Khmer Rouge trial

Written By vibykhmer on Wednesday, August 12, 2009 | 8:23 PM


Taiwan News
http://www.etaiwannews.com

Associated Press
2009-08-12

Cambodia and the United Nations have agreed on the appointment of a corruption watchdog at the country's Khmer Rouge genocide tribunal, they announced Wednesday.
Allegations of corruption _ notably that some Cambodian personnel paid kickbacks to get their jobs _ have threatened to undermine the credibility of the tribunal, which seeks to establish accountability for the estimated 1.7 million deaths under the communist Khmer Rouge's 1975-79 rule.

The allegations also have jeopardized the tribunal's funding, which largely comes from foreign donors.

"I think this new measure is going to address all the issues we have had in the past," said tribunal spokeswoman Yuko Maeda.

The U.N.-backed tribunal has parallel teams of international and Cambodian personnel who work in tandem.

Its first trial, of the Khmer Rouge's top jailer, began earlier this year. Four other former senior Khmer Rouge officials are in the tribunal's custody.

The corruption allegations originally were made more than two years ago by the Open Society Justice Initiative, a New York-based group monitoring the tribunal. Cambodian and some U.N. officials have publicly denied them.

But the allegations were revived in February when a report on the German parliament's Web site alleged that a top U.N. tribunal official had acknowledged the kickbacks and accused a senior Cambodian administrator of corruption.

Wednesday's announcement said Cambodian Auditor-General Uth Chhorn will take the job, which includes protecting any whistle-blowers from retaliation.

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