Japanese judge resigns from Cambodia's Khmer Rouge genocide tribunal

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A Japanese judge serving as part of the United Nations (UN)-backed Cambodia genocide tribunal resigned his position on Wednesday, and it will take effect in mid-July, the UN reported on Thursday.

Japanese judge Motoo Noguchi, an international judge of the Supreme Court Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), informed UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of his decision to resign. He served on the ECCC since its inception in 2006 and his resignation will take effect on July 15.

In his resignation, Noguchi addressed the Cambodian people and expressed his intention to return to service with the Japanese Ministry of Justice. "It was my greatest honor and privilege to play a role in the ECCC's historic endeavors to bring justice to the people of Cambodia," he said. "I trust that they will continue to strive to overcome the tragic past which once put the country in ruins, as was the case with the Japanese people half a century ago."

"I hope that the Cambodian people will keep telling their stories beyond generations, enhance dialogue in their society, and reflect these on the education for pupils and students. I wish all the best and prosperity for the country and people of Cambodia," he added.

In recent months the ECCC has witnessed the resignations of the international co-investigating judge, Siegfried Blunk, and the reserve international co-investigating judge, Laurent Kasper-Ansermet, in addition to Noguchi.

Judge Blunk cited attempted interference by Government officials in the court's proceedings while Judge Kasper-Ansermet stated that he was being prevented from properly and freely carrying out his duties at the tribunal. In March, Ban stressed that the Government must provide full cooperation so that they could carry out their duties.

Under an agreement signed by the UN and the Cambodian Government, the ECCC was set up as an independent court using a mixture of Cambodian staff, judges and foreign personnel. It is designated to try those deemed most responsible for mass killings and other crimes committed under the Khmer Rouge regime three decades ago.

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