Nuon Chea (left) and Khieu Samphan
The Asian International Justice Initiative (AIJI) has written and published “A Well-Reasoned Opinion? Critical Analysis of the First Case Against the Alleged Senior Leaders of the Khmer Rouge”, a final, comprehensive report on the trial of Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan in Case 002/01 at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC).
On 7 August 2014, the ECCC reached an important institutional milestone when the Court published its long-awaited Trial Judgment in the first case against two of the surviving alleged senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge—Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan The Court found both men guilty of crimes against humanity, and sentenced them each to life imprisonment, while awarding “moral and collective reparations” to the 3,869 Civil Parties participating in the trial.
Despite hopes that the five-year process of judicial investigation, trial, deliberation, and Judgment-drafting would produce a rigorous and insightful final product, in reality, this report argues, the Case 002/01 Judgment fails to deliver the most fundamental output one expects from a criminal trial—systematic application of the elements of crimes to a well-documented body of factual findings. Based, in part, on insight gained from the continuous presence of a team of trial monitors throughout trial, this report provides commentary on “how a contentious and confusing trial process in Case 002/01 ultimately produced a similarly problematic final Judgment.”
The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia
On 3 March, the International Co-Investigating Judge Mark Harmon of the UN-backed Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) charged two former Khmer Rouge members with several crimes committed during the Democratic Kampuchea regime.
The suspects in both cases, known as Cases 003 and 004, have been charged in absentia. Both suspects are thought to be among those most responsible for Khmer Rouge atrocities committed between 17 April 1975 and 6 January 1979.
Meas Muth, suspect in Case 003, is said to have had authority over sending people to S-21, the notorious security prison, where they were tortured and ultimately killed. A high ranking navy commander in the Revolutionary Army of Kampuchea, Muth is accused of torture and killing of Vietnamese, Thai and other foreigners captured at sea and on the islands over which Democratic Kampuchea claimed sovereignty. He is also charged with having committed Grave Breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949.
Im Chaem, a former district commander was charged with homicide, the crimes against humanity of murder, extermination, enslavement, imprisonment, persecution on political grounds and other inhumane acts at the Phnom Tryoung security centre in Banteay Meanchey province. She was further charged with the crimes against humanity of murder, enslavement, imprisonment and other inhumane acts for her role at the Spean Sreng work site. Continue reading