The Open Society Justice Initiative notes today's statement from the Office of the Council of Ministers of the government of Cambodia in response to the resignation of Siegfried Blunk, the former international co-investigating judge at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC).
We strongly reject the statement’s characterization of the Open Society Justice Initiative as a group that has “long opposed the ECCC” and which has also supposedly “exerted increasing pressure to discredit and undermine the ECCC, attempting to force it to charge more suspects”.
The Open Society Justice Initiative has actively supported the ECCC since before it was established in 2003, including urging the international community to provide adequate funding and political support for its operations.
To help raise the international profile of the ECCC, the Justice Initiative has also maintained a legal officer in Phnom Penh to monitor court proceedings. This work has also involved constructively identifying and publicizing shortcomings—including corrupt practices, and more recently expressing well-founded concerns about the thoroughness and genuineness of its judicial investigations.
Rather than “attempting to force [the court] to charge more suspects”, our efforts in recent months have been focused on ensuring the court’s investigating judges meet their obligation to investigate properly the existing cases before them, against a background of statements from senior Cambodian government ministers manifestly seeking to limit the court’s activities.