Kieu Samphan (left) and Nuon Chea
On 23 November 2016, the Supreme Court Chamber (SCC) of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) delivered its Appeal Judgment in Case 002/01 against former Khmer Rouge leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan.
Nuon Chea, former Deputy Secretary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, and Khieu Samphan, former Head of State of Democratic Kampuchea, were convicted by the Trial Chamber in August 2014 for crimes against humanity committed during the forced evacuation of Phnom Penh in April 1975 and subsequent forced transfer from other areas, as well as alleged execution of former Khmer Republic soldiers in Tuol Po Chrey in Pursat Province.
Both defendants appealed the decision, asking for a reversal of the trial judgment and to be acquitted of all charges, or failing that, Khieu Samphan asked for a reduced sentenced to a set number of years. Nuon Chea submitted 223 grounds of appeal and Khieu Samphan submitted 148 grounds of appeal. Their appeal arguments related to the constitutionality of the ECCC’s Internal Rules and the fairness of the proceedings; the Trial Chamber’s approach to evidence; the Trial Chamber’s findings relevant to the crimes for which the accused were convicted; and the accused’s individual criminal responsibility.
Last week, on 29 December 2014, the defence team of the Khmer Rouge regimes former chief ideologue, Nuon Chea, filed a full appeal against the 88-year-olds life sentence and convictions for crimes against humanity.
Raising 223 grounds of appeal, Nuon Chea requested an acquittal on all charges for which he and Khieu Samphan were convicted in Case 002/01 by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) in August 2014.
The 270-page long appeal brief sets out numerous flaws in the criminal proceedings and in the trial judgment.
The brief first highlights two issues that have plagued the investigation: pervasive political interference and a biased flawed investigative approach of the Co-Investigating Judges.
Nuon Cheas lawyers alleged that the lack of independence and impartiality permeating the investigation were equally apparent before the Trial Chamber. According to the defence, the Trial Chamber is deeply biased against the Accused and incapable of impartially assessing the evidence (appeal grounds 3 & 4).
The defence based this claim on a careful and detailed analysis of the judgment, which reveals, according to the Appeals brief, that a substantial portion of the findings are, or would be reasonably perceived to be attributable to a pre-disposition against the accused, and not genuinely related to the application of law, or to the assessment of the relevant facts. Continue reading
Nuon Chea (left) and Khieu Samphan
Today, the Trial Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) found the last two surviving leaders of Cambodias Khmer Rouge regime guilty of crimes against humanity. Kieu Samphan, the former head of state of Cambodia, and Nuon Chea, former president of the national assembly, have both been sentenced to life imprisonment.
The Trial Chamber found that both Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan participated in a joint criminal enterprise to achieve the common purpose of implementing a rapid socialist revolution through a great leap forward by whatever means necessary. The Chamber found that this common purpose was implemented through, amongst other means, policies to forcibly displace people from cities and towns and between rural areas. As a result, during the first phase of the movement of the population at least two million people were forcibly transferred from Phnom Penh in April 1975 by Khmer Rouge soldiers under false pretexts and threats, often at gunpoint, with almost no prior warning and in terrifying and violent circumstances.
During the second phase of the movement of the population, between September 1975 and December 1977, at least 330,000 to 430,000 people were forcibly displaced from various locations throughout Cambodia. Most people were ordered to leave their locations and transferred under armed guard. Those who refused transfer or attempted escape were arrested, detained or transferred in a further round of movements. Continue reading
Kieu Samphan (left) and Nuon Chea
Today, the last two surviving leaders of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime, Khieu Samphan, the former head of state of Cambodia, and Nuon Chea, former president of the national assembly under Pol Pot’s regime, begin their second trial at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC).
Both are already on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity at the ECCC.
The second trial includes a charge of genocide related to killings of Vietnamese and Cham Muslim minorities. The charges are based on factual allegations concerning four security centres, three worksites and one group of adjacent cooperatives.
The cases are being tried separately to accelerate proceedings, because the defendants are elderly.
The second trial is a continuation of the first one. A verdict in the first case is expected on 7 August. Prosecutors are seeking life sentences for the two accused. Continue reading