Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Cambodian king approves judges for DK tribunal

PHNOM PENH, May 8 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni Sunday formally approved the Cambodian and international judges for a trial of former Democratic Kampuchea (DK), Reach Sambath, a press officer of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) said Monday.

The 30 judicial officials for the Extraordinary Chambers to trial former leaders of DK were selected by Cambodia's Supreme Council of the Magistracy on Thursday under the chair of the king.

Of the 30 judges, 13 are international nominated by the United Nations. They come from New Zealand, France, Austria, Canada, U.S., Australia, the Netherlands, Japan, Poland and Sri Lanka.

Twelve will serve as judges in the two levels of court, and the rest will stay as reserve. The two levels of court include the trial Chamber and the Supreme Court Chamber. At the Trial Chamber, there will be 5 judges comprising 3 Cambodian and 2 international judges. At the Supreme Court Chamber there will be 7 judges including 4 Cambodian and 3 international.

Both Cambodia and UN have also provided one prosecutor and one investigating judge each to lead the investigation.

The United Nations started negotiations with Cambodia in 1997 on establishing a tribunal to try surviving DK leaders for genocide and crimes against humanity committed in the late 1970s, and two sides reached an agreement in 2003 to jointly convene trials of former DK leaders.

The tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath said that the preliminary legal procedures would start in June, while actual trials is expected to begin early 2007. The trial's total cost is estimated at 56.3 million U.S. dollars and will last three years. Enditem

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