I notice that you express admiration for Judge Bohlander’s integrity here but do not say the same for Judge Bunleng. I presume this is because he refused to investigate at all in Cases 003/004? It’s been several years since I followed KRT developments closely. Perhaps you can enlighten me.
We have yet to see the reasoning behind the dismissal for Chaem and I know very little of Judge Bohlander, having left the country some time before he started work.
But to a non-legal observer, two very sad questions jump to the fore:
1) OCIJ’s decision not to exercise jurisdiction over Chaem took eight years. Isn’t this what lawyers would call a “threshold” matter best disposed of at the beginning? And can’t it be decided without examining much of the evidence supporting the charges?
I interviewed victims and witnesses from crime scenes allegedly overseen by Chaem. They told me how much they suffered.
Did this process build up hopes of justice only to let them down, not by deciding guilt or innocence but on what to the general public will appear to be an abstruse technicality? One baked into the process not by impartial judges but during heavily politicized negotiations?
2) Please help me understand — how could the ECCC accept jurisdiction over Duch but not over Chaem? In making this decision, is Judge Bohlander at odds with the court’s own jurisprudence?
Duch may have been responsible for the systematic extermination of 12,000 to perhaps 20,000 people. Chaem, if rough OCP estimates are to be believed, had a hand in a number of deaths that could quadruple the upper bound of Duch’s death toll.
But Duch is a senior leader/most responsible while Chaem is not?
Thank you, Doug, for your comment and questions!
My “express admiration for Judge Bohlander’s integrity,” as you put it, is no reflection, as you seem to suggest, that I find Judge You Bunleng to have less integrity or to be less deserving of appreciation. By your own admission, you have not been following the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (“ECCC”) for years. You are also not privy to much of what the Office of the Co-Investigating Judges (“OCIJ”) has done, how it has been functioning, how it interacts with the parties, and, most of all, how the two Co-Investigating Judges work together. Continue reading ““But Duch is a senior leader/most responsible while Chaem is not?””