The United Nations and the government of Cambodia have at last reached terms under which a genocide tribunal can begin. Disagreements between the local and international sides of the arrangement have accounted for the delay in getting to this point, but it looks like the thing is ready to roll. UNAKRT (United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials) and ECCC (Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, or the tribunal before which former Khmer Rouge leaders will soon stand) are announcing updates on their websites. From a joint statement issued today:
The process of drafting the internal rules has been a complex one. The ECCC is a unique exercise in international justice. For the first time a hybrid court, taking as its foundation the national law of the country in which it is operating, has has incorporated the work of Co-Investigating Judges into its process. We have had no precedents as we work to integrate Cambodian law and procedure and the particular characteristics and structure of this court, while ensuring that international standards are upheld.
What should be our feelings on mixing local and international justice thusly? My confidence in justice dispensed by the UN may be marginally higher than my confidence in justice dispensed by Cambodian officials, but in this case the difference hardly matters. There is, unfortunately, nothing on the books of any respectable system of law that can award these monsters what they deserve. This is why I advocate prevention over cure. Monsters of history must be located and neutralized before they can make more history.