British lawyer named international prosecutor at Khmer Rouge genocide tribunal

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Khmer Rouge tribunal names new foreign prosecutor

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — The Khmer Rouge genocide tribunal said Wednesday that it has appointed a new international prosecutor whose most recent job was defending former Liberian President Charles Taylor at his war crimes trial.

Andrew T. Cayley of Britain, who has also served as a prosecutor at international war crimes courts, was named to the post left vacant in September by the resignation of Canadian co-prosecutor Robert Petit, the tribunal said in a statement.

The tribunal, known as the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, incorporates mixed teams of foreign and Cambodian judges, prosecutors and defenders. Political wrangling between the two sides has led to many delays, and allegations of corruption among the tribunal’s Cambodian staff have hurt the tribunal’s credibility.

A verdict is expected early next year in the tribunal’s first trial, of Khmer Rouge prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, who is charged with crimes against humanity, war crimes, murder and torture.

The brutal 1970s rule of the Khmer Rouge left an estimated 1.7 million people dead from torture, execution, disease and starvation.

The tribunal is also holding four former senior Khmer Rouge leaders in custody, and they are expected to be tried next year or later.

Cayley has spent the last two years in private practice, during which time he defended Charles Taylor, the tribunal said. Taylor, accused of providing arms to Sierra Leone rebels in exchange for diamonds mined by slave laborers, ended 13 weeks on the witness stand earlier this month at the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

Cayley earlier served as senior prosecuting counsel for the International Criminal Court investigating crimes in Darfur and the International Criminal Tribunal investigating war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, it said.

The tribunal also said American Nicholas Koumjian was appointed reserve co-prosecutor.

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