Swiss judge blocked for Khmer Rouge trial

Cambodia has refused a United Nations call to reconsider its veto of a new Swiss judge on the Khmer Rouge war crime tribunal.

This content was published on January 24, 2012 minutes and agencies

Since October Laurent Kasper-Ansermet has been on the cards as the successor to the German judge Siegfried Blunk, who resigned over interference by the Cambodian government in his tribunal work.

Cambodia's decision to block Kasper-Ansermet's appointment is the latest in a series of disputes over the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), which have spent more than $150 million (SFr139 million) and handed down just one sentence since 2005.

On Monday Phnom Penh said it had the right to reject unsuitable candidates under a 2003 UN agreement. A government spokesman said the UN did not fully understand the terms of the agreement to prosecute former Khmer Rouge officials after the world body said Cambodia was in breach of the pact.

In a statement on January 20, the UN expressed "serious concern" over Cambodia's decision not to appoint Kasper-Ansermet as a joint investigating judge and called on the government to accept him immediately.  

Further discussions between the UN and Cambodia are being held on Tuesday.    

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