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The Politicisation of Hybrid Courts: Observations from the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

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The use of ‘hybrid’ tribunals as a means to secure accountability for international crimes seeks to combine national ownership over the trials whilst providing a framework for the inclusion of international standards and personnel in the proceedings. The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) represents one such hybrid experiment. Yet the ECCC has faced recurring allegations of political interference. These allegations are substantial and even if not always verifiable at least create an appearance of impropriety. The failure of the ECCC and United Nations to adequately address these allegations derived from a hybrid model that failed to provide sufficient safeguards against interference. The international community agreed on a solution to secure accountability with awareness that the trials were likely to be politically tainted. As such, the experiment in Cambodia provides a cautionary tale for the future design of hybrid tribunals.

Affiliations: 1: aBarrister, Lincoln’s Inn, London, UK; 2: bAssociate Professor of Law, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong


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