Resources on the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

Ressources sur les Chambres extraordinaires cambodgiennes


Information in English on the Extraordinary Chambers


  • In response to a request for aid from the Cambodian Government in June 1997, the United Nations Secretariat spent six years negotiating a judicial structure to try the leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime for crimes committed between 1975 and 1979.

  • The UN originally came down in favour of establishing a third ad hoc International Criminal Tribunal. Faced with stiff opposition from the Cambodian Government, the UN compromised successively concerning the legal status of the court and its structure. A consensus finally seemed to have been reached in July 2000, when a UN negotiating team left Phnom Penh with a draft Memorandum of Understanding concerning ‘significant international co-operation’ in trials before ‘Extraordinary Chambers’ of the Cambodian courts (the ‘draft MOU’).

  • In the event, the law finally promulgated by Cambodia on 10 August 2001 in order to set up these Chambers (the ‘2001 Law’) was not entirely consistent with the terms of the draft MOU. In the absence of progress concerning these differences, the Secretary-General pulled the UN out of the negotiations in February 2002. However, the UN General Assembly requested him to continue negotiating on the basis of the 2001 Law and, on 17 March 2003, an amended bi-lateral agreement was negotiated which went some way towards addressing the concerns of the Secretary-General (the ‘2003 Agreement’). The Agreement was officially signed in Phnom Penh on 6 June 2003.

  • Yet, it was only ratified by Cambodia on 19 October 2004, after the formation of a new government. The 2001 Law was then amended, on 27 October 2004, to bring it into conformity with the international Agreement.

  • The UN indicated that the Agreement would not come into force until the budget for the Chambers had been secured, which occurred on 29 April 2005, after a donors conference received promises covering the quasi-totality of the US$43M voluntary international contributions. At the end of 2005, Cambodia had not yet found the totality of its share of the budget (US$13.3M).


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© 2002 2006 David Boyle. Tous droits réservés / All rights reserved.