ECCC: Kaing Guek Eav alias Duch to Testify in Case 002/02

by Tibor Bajnovič

Kaing Guek Eav alias DuchKaing Guek Eav alias Duch, a former chairman of the S-21 Security Centre, is scheduled to testify in Case 002/02 from 26 May 2016. He is called to testify on the topic of Security Centres and Internal Purges, in particular S-21 Security Centre. Duch first appeared as a witness in Case 002/01 in March and April 2012.

Duch was the first Khmer Rouge official to stand on trial before the ECCC in Case 001. On 26 July 2010, the Trial Chamber convicted Duch of crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions for his role at the S-21 Security Centre. In that role he oversaw the torture and execution of at least 12,272 individuals. Duch was sentenced to 35 years imprisonment, with a reduction of five years as a remedy for his eight-year unlawful detention by Cambodian Military Court. The sentence caused a widespread public dissatisfaction in Cambodia.

On 3 February 2012, the Supreme Court Chamber — the ECCC’s final court of appeal — overturned the sentence imposed on Duch at trial, increasing it to life imprisonment. The Supreme Court Chamber also refused to provide a remedy for Duch’s eight-year illegal detention on the ground that the ECCC was not responsible for the violation. From a human rights and fair trial perspective, the Supreme Court Chamber’s treatment of Duch’s eight-year illegal detention raised significant concerns.

The Case 002 has been severed into two separate trials, each addressing a different section of the indictment. The trial judgement in Case 002/01 was pronounced on 7 August 2014. Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan were both found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life imprisonment. Following the appeals filed by both Accused, the appeal hearings in Case 002/01 commenced on 2 July 2015 and were closed by the President of the Supreme Court Chamber on 18 February 2016.

The trial hearings in Case 002/02 commenced on 17 October 2014 and are ongoing. It is expected that evidentiary hearings in Case 002/02 will conclude later this year, with a judgement to follow in 2017.

New Book on the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

Book ECCCThe Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia  Assessing their Contribution to International Criminal Law

Edited by Simon M. Meisenberg and Ignaz Stegmiller

The ECCC were established in 2006 to bring to trial senior leaders and those most responsible for serious crimes committed under the Khmer Rouge regime. Established by domestic law following an agreement in 2003 between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the UN, the ECCC’s hybrid features provide a unique approach of accountability for mass atrocities.

The book entails an analysis of the work and jurisprudence of the ECCC, providing a detailed assessment of their legacies and contribution to international criminal law. The collection, providing a foreword by ICC Judge Chung and containing twenty chapters from leading scholars and practitioners with inside knowledge of the ECCC, discuss the most pressing topics and its implications for international criminal law. These include the establishment of the ECCC, subject matter crimes, joint criminal enterprise and procedural aspects, including questions regarding the trying of frail accused persons and the admission of torture statements into evidence.

This book is the first comprehensive study on the work and functioning of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). It highlights that the ECCC has delivered a rich jurisprudence that deserves scrutiny and analysis in order to explore its contribution to international criminal justice. General criticism towards the ECCC and many aspect of international criminal law may be superficial, missing a critical assessment of the law and practice of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. The book therefore attempts to contribute to a better understanding of the challenges encountered not only by the ECCC, but by international criminal justice as a whole.

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ECCC: New Suspect Charged with Genocide in Case 004

ECCCThe International Co-Investigating Judge Michael Bohlander of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia (ECCC) has charged Ta Tith, or Yim Tith, with crimes including genocide in Case 004.

A statement released today shows that the accused has been charged with genocide against the Khmer Krom, an ethnic minority from Southern Vietnam, as well as with the crimes against humanity of murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, imprisonment, torture, and forced marriage, and grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions.

Ta Tith was a secretary of the Khmer Rouge’s Northwest Zone at the time of the genocide which took place in the country from 17 April 1975 to 6 January 1979.

The Cambodia Daily reported that Ta Tith had been charged in person at the Court, after which he returned home with his lawyers.

Im Chaem and Maes Muth, suspects in Cases 003 and 004, had been charged with crimes allegedly committed during the Democratic Kampuchea regime earlier this year on 3 March 2015. Maes Muth was a high ranking navy commander in the Revolutionary Army of Kampuchea. Im Chaem was allegedly secretary of Preah Net Preah District in the North-West Zone. Ta An, or Ao An, the former deputy secretary of the Central Zone during the Democratic Kampuchea regime, had been charged on 30 March 2015.

As a result of the formal charges, Ta Tith and his lawyers now have access to the complete case file and are able to participate in the investigation.

Cases 003 and 004 are opposed by the Cambodian government, with Cambodian police having refused to execute arrest warrants issued by the International Co-Investigating Judge last year for suspect Meas Muth and Im Chaem.

“A Well-Reasoned Opinion?”

Former Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea appe

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.”

Two New Suspects Charged by Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge Tribunal

ECCC

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