Swiss Judge Resigns From Cambodia Genocide Court

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Swiss judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) today resigned after stating that he is being prevented from “properly and freely” carrying out his duties.

Reports say Judge Kasper-Ansermet resigned after an argument with a Cambodian ECCC judge.

He is the second international judge to leave the court in less than one year over disagreements with Cambodian counterparts.

The United Nations today voiced concern on the recent resignation of Judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet.

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Skulls of Khmer Rouge victims.

Judge Kasper-Ansermet has submitted his resignation, effective from 4 May, from the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC).

He has served as reserve international co-investigating judge since 30 November 2011.

“The situation at the ECCC continues to be of serious concern and the United Nations is examining it closely.” -UN spokesperson Eduardo del Buey

Judge Kasper-Ansermet’s duties included judicial investigations into cases 003 and 004. The cases reportedly involve former senior members of the Khmer Rouge military suspected of being responsible for the deaths of thousands of people.

According to a news report, Judge Kasper-Ansermet’s authority to investigate cases 003 and 004 has been constantly contested by the national co-investigating judge You Bunleng.

Judge Bunleng is reportedly showed “active opposition” to investigations into cases 003 and 004 has led to a “dysfunctional” situation within the ECCC.

Media reports say, 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 ECCC is tasked with trying Khmer Rouge for their roles in the 1970s genocide, when as many as two million people are thought to have died.

Set up under an agreement signed in 2003 by the UN and the Government, the ECCC is an independent court that uses a mixture of Cambodian staff and judges and foreign personnel.

On October 2011, Judge Siegfried Blunk, the international co-investigating judge at the ECCC, submitted his resignation to Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, citing repeated statements by Government officials regarding what are known as cases 003 and 004.

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