Oct. 11 - Cambodians want cooperation in war crimes trial after international tribunal judge resigns amid government interference. Lindsey Parietti reports.
Cambodians worry that justice for Khmer Rouge regime atrocities that wiped out more than a quarter of the population is in jeopardy after a judge resigns. German judge Siegfried Blunk stepped down from a joint Cambodian-UN tribunal last week amid alleged government interference. SOUNDBITE (English) CENTER FOR CAMBODIAN CIVIC EDUCATION DIRECTOR SENG THEARY SAYING: "The UN need to do lots more than just pushing Blunk to resign, so this is a tiny step that does not affect the direction, and the direction is heading in the wrong way. We need to change course, the United Nations need to take the steering wheel, need to pressure and leverage the government, its partner, and it has the ability to." The Cambodian court has handed down just one conviction and a 19-year prison sentence for a Khmer Rouge regime leader involved in killing more than 14,000 people in the 1970s. Senior officials including the current prime minister have often opposed further prosecutions. SOUNDBITE (Khmer) 41-YEAR-OLD TAXI DRIVER UY JAME SAYING: "My idea is, I want all the staff at the Khmer Rouge tribunal united, all of them, from the prosecutors, to the judges, to cooperate with each other, to have a concrete investigation on the Khmer Rouge regime's crimes, before putting them on trial." Several high-ranking officials of the former regime, including its president, face trial for war crimes that include torturing and executing 1.7 million Cambodians between 1975 and 1979. Lindsey Parietti, Reuters