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Cambodia; United Nations: Corruption Monitor to Join Genocide Court

(Aug. 21, 2009) On August 12, 2009, the United Nations and Cambodia announced an agreement setting up an ethics watchdog in the special tribunal on the genocide in Cambodia in the 1970s. The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), based in Phnom Penh, will now have an independent, anti-corruption counselor. A joint statement on the development was issued by U.N. Assistant-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Peter Taksøe and Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, describing the task of the new office as to ensure due process and “full protection of staff on both sides of the ECCC against any possible retaliation for good faith reporting of wrongdoing.” The statement went on to say that the independent counselor will be available to the whole staff “to bring forward any concern confidentially, and will be empowered to address such concerns.” (Anti-Corruption Watchdog to Join UN-Backed Genocide Court in Cambodia, UN NEWS CENTRE, Aug. 12, 2009, available at

The ECCC, established in 2003, is charged with trying senior leaders and those responsible for the most heinous crimes violating national and international law under the Khmer Rouge regime, from 1975 to 1979. Staffed by a combination of Cambodian and foreign workers, the ECCC is currently considering cases against Kaing Guek Eay and Nuon Chea. They are accused of murder, torture, and, in the case of Nuon Chea, enslavement of civilians. (Id.)

The establishment of some kind of ethics monitor was first proposed by the United Nations in April 2009, following allegations of corruption among the staff of the ECCC. (See Constance A. Johnson, Cambodia/United Nations: Ethics Monitor Proposed for ECCC, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR, Apr. 14, 2009, available at //