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International ECCC judge resigns from position

Cheang Sokha / Khmer Times Share:
Judge Michael Bohlander will return to England’s Durham Law School. ECCC

The international co-investigating judge of the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal on Friday resigned from his position following the conclusion of the investigation on case 004.

A statement by the court noted that Judge Michael Bohlander will return to England’s Durham Law School as chair in Comparative and International Criminal Law.

According to the university’s website, Judge Bohlander was appointed by King Norodom Sihamoni to the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia bench on July 31, 2015.

It noted that on February 7, 2017, he was appointed as one of the judges of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers.

On the same day of his resignation, Judge Bohlander and Cambodian Co-Investigating Judge You Bunleng issued differing statements on case 004 regarding former Khmer Rouge senior cadre Yim Tith.

According to Judge Bunleng, Mr Tith was in charge of the southwest zone, thus his case does not fall within the court’s jurisdiction, while Judge Bohlander stated that there is evidence that Mr Tith’s case is within the court’s jurisdiction and thus could be punished.

Students watch ECCC proceedings last month. ECCC

Neth Pheaktra, spokesman for the tribunal, said Judge Bohlander’s resignation was made prior to the statements and that it had nothing to do with the disagreement.

Mr Pheaktra said that Judge Bohlander resigned because investigation into cases have concluded.

“His presence in Phnom Penh is no longer necessary, […] he wishes to avoid incompatibilities with his judgeship at the Kosovo Tribunal and his academic post in the UK,” Mr Pheaktra said. “Hence, [he] decided not to stay on as a remote judge.”

The ECCC has convicted three former Khmer Rouge leaders and sentenced them to life in prison since it was established in 2006. These are Kaing Guek Eav, Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea.

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