Skip Navigation
Online Bookstore Book Supplements Newsletter Subscription For Academics For Bookshops For Authors About Us Journals Holt Prize


Abstract from

Symbolic, Shambolic or Simply Sui Generis? Reflections from the Field on Cambodia’s Extraordinary Chambers

Michelle Staggs Kelsall is an Australian lawyer, and the current Deputy Director of the UC Berkeley War Crimes Studies Center/EastWest Center’s Asian International Justice Initiative.

Although it has achieved significant milestones since it was established in 2006, debates about the legitimacy of Cambodia’s Extraordinary Chambers continue to rage. These debates tend to centre on the extent to which the tribunal is continuing to comply with international fair trial standards while at the same time achieving justice for the victims of the Khmer Rouge regime. This article asserts that there are essentially three different ways to conceptualise the institutional form
the CEC has taken: either it is symbolic, shambolic or simply suigeneris. In doing so, it challenges prevailing orthodoxies about the Court’s ability to create a monumental spectacle for victims or promote a ‘rule of law’ agenda. It concludes that, while we may be disappointed that the tribunal has failed to achieve certain of its stated aims, it may yet prove to have instituted a valuable process in Cambodia.

(2009) 27 No 1 Law in Context 154

        BACK TO TOP