‘Analysts’ and the KR trials

[Sent to the Phnom Penh Post on 9 May 2017. Not published.]

Your Tuesday article “KRT judges have ‘deep concerns’” states that “analysts” doubt that the judges told the full truth in expressing their concerns, and that these “analysts” further said that all three outstanding cases in the Khmer Rouge tribunal have been “‘tainted’ by government influence”.

Unfortunately, the article nowhere indicates who these “analysts” are or what their analytical qualifications consist of. There are only two individuals directly quoted in the article: a victim who is a civil party in case 003 and Long Panhavuth, who is described as an “observer”, not as an “analyst” (and there is only one of him).

This leaves the reader with no objective information by which to judge the reliability or otherwise of the views attributed to the “analysts”. It can give some readers (me, for instance) the impression that your writers wanted to express an opinion about the court but preferred to assign their opinion to an anonymous someone else. (If I were to rephrase that sentence in Post style, it would read: “Analysts believe that the Post writers wanted to express an opinion …” etc.)

The extended quotation from Long Panhavuth only makes matters worse. Neither this article nor the previous day’s article, which also quoted him extensively, says anything about his qualifications or experience as an analyst/observer, which implies that he is an accepted source of reasonably neutral opinion, like a dictionary or other reference book.

In reality, Long Panhavuth is a long-time employee of the Open Society Justice Initiative, one of billionaire currency speculator George Soros’ numerous ongoing projects for wiping out any trace of any government that was ever allied with or even reasonably friendly with the former Soviet Union.

Among the many NGOs that have meddled in the KR tribunal to ill effect, OSJI stands out by far. For example, it conducted a years-long campaign about never-specified “corruption” at the court, even while OSJI itself was illegitimately obtaining what should have been confidential information from court staff. In 2011, it learned in this way that Judge Siegfried Blunk and his Cambodian co-investigating judge had decided to dismiss Case 003, and it therefore participated in a public campaign against Judge Blunk that led to his resignation before the legal formalities to close the case had been completed.

If the Post is going to persist in quoting Long Panhavuth, aren’t readers entitled, at the least, to know the employment history of this observer/analyst?