Lawyers Journal

Chief Justice Rapoza named to 
Cambodian War Crimes Tribunal

Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court Phillip Rapoza has been selected as the international reserve judge for the Supreme Court Chamber of the United Nations-backed Cambodian War Crimes Tribunal, formerly known as the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. The ECCC was established to conduct trials, and bring to justice, those most responsible for the human rights violations in Cambodia under the 1975 to 1979 Khmer Rouge regime.

Rapoza was nominated by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and was approved by the Cambodian Supreme Council of Magistracy. Rapoza's responsibilities include potentially attending appellate arguments, as well as filling in vacancies on the Supreme Court Chamber.

"I am honored by both the secretary-general's nomination and the approval of my appointment by the Cambodian authorities. The work of the ECCC is historic in nature and it is humbling to be involved in this important undertaking," Rapoza said.

Rapoza received a B.A. magna cum laude from Yale College and a J.D. from Cornell Law School. He was appointed to the Massachusetts Appeal Courts 1998 and was appointed the court's chief justice in 2006. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the U.S. Council of Chief Judges of the State Courts of Appeals and is also a life fellow of the Massachusetts Bar Foundation, the philanthropic partner of the Massachusetts Bar Association.

Prior to being appointed chief justice, Rapoza worked for the UN in East Timor as chief international judge on the Special Panels for Serious Crimes. In 2002, the Portuguese government awarded him the rank of commander in the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator for his international work and in 2007, he received the Municipal Medal of Merit from the town of Lagoa in the Azores, as well as the Brazilian Medal of International Merit. In 2009, Rapoza received the Alexander George Teitz Memorial Award from the Touro Synagogue Foundation for his commitment to ethnic tolerance and religious freedom.

In addition, Rapoza received the MBA President's Award in 2011. The President's Award is given to individuals who have made a significant contribution to the work of the MBA, to the preservation of MBA values, to the success of MBA initiatives and to the promotion of MBA leadership role within the legal community in 

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