Friction and Security at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal


A hybrid judicial tribunal was inaugurated in Phnom Penh in 2006 to try those most responsible for the mass crimes perpetrated during the period of Khmer Rouge rule in Cambodia, 1975–79. Since the inception of the tribunal, there has been regular friction between the international and national sides, some of which has led to considerable animosity. In 2012 the international Co-investigating Judge resigned after only a few months in office, claiming that he had found himself in a hostile environment and had been unable to carry out his duties. Impasses of this kind arise in the specific social context in which security has come to be configured and managed in Cambodia, in part with the complicity of foreign powers. Greater appreciation of the historical background and social context that frame the lives of court staff would enable us to have more realistic expectations of future hybrid tribunals.