Top prosecutor resigns from Khmer Rouge tribunal

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — The international prosecutor for Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge tribunal said Monday that he is resigning next week, citing personal reasons.

The resignation of co-prosecutor Andrew Cayley of Britain takes effect Sept. 16, almost four years after he joined the financially troubled U.N.-backed tribunal in 2009.

“I wish the court well, and I certainly hope that some of the immediate financial issues the court faces can be resolved to allow the caseload to be completed in an orderly and timely fashion,” Cayley said in a statement.

About 140 Cambodian employees at the court have been on strike since early September to demand salaries that have not been paid for months.

Cayley said he was leaving for “personal reasons” and would join his family who left Cambodia in June.

The U.N.-appointed Cayley worked alongside a Cambodian co-prosecutor at the Khmer Rouge tribunal, which employs joint teams of Cambodian and international court personnel. Previously, he had served as a prosecutor on several international war crimes courts and during a stint with a private practice defended former Liberian President Charles Taylor at his war crimes trial before coming to Cambodia.

Tribunal spokesman Lars Olsen said Cayley’s departure was not expected to cause any disruptions and a temporary replacement was expected to arrive in October.

The court is currently on a break during the trial of two Khmer Rouge leaders, former head of state Khieu Samphan, 82, and chief ideologue Nuon Chea, 87, for crimes against humanity, war crimes, genocide and other offenses.

The tribunal is tasked with seeking justice for atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s, when an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians died from starvation, disease, forced labor and executions.

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