Cambodia rebuffs UN on new judge for Khmer Rouge trial

January 23, 2012 12:00

PHNOM PENH - Cambodia refused on Monday a UN call to reconsider its veto of a new judge on the Khmer Rouge war crime tribunal, saying it reserved the right to reject unsuitable candidates under a 2003 agreement with the world body.

A government spokesman said the United Nations did not fully understand the terms of the agreement to prosecute former Khmer Rouge officials after the world body said Cambodia was in breach of the pact.

In a statement on Friday, the United Nations expressed "serious concern" over Cambodia's decision not to appoint Swiss Laurent Kasper-Ansermet as a joint investigating judge and called on the government to accept him immediately.

Cambodian government spokesman Keo Remy responded on Monday by saying Cambodia's judicial bodies had full authority to reject judges if they did not consider them suitable.

"It is the authority of the Supreme Council of Magistracy whether or not to appoint him," Keo Remy said.

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