On 27 March 2015, the International Co-Investigating Judge of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) charged former Khmer Rouge official Ao An, also known as Ta An, with crimes against humanity and premeditated homicide.
Ta An appeared in person at the court to hear the charges related to purges and executions at the crime sites of Kok Pring execution site, Tuol Beng security centre and Wat Au Trakuon security centre.
Ta An, the former deputy secretary of the Central Zone during the Democratic Kampuchea regime, is the second suspect charged in Case 004. Earlier this month, the UN-backed Khmer Rouge Tribunal charged former district commander Im Chaem in the same case.
According to the Phnom Penh Post, Ta An has denied the allegations against him and said that he was not afraid to face the tribunal.
The charges were issued by International Co-Investigating Judge Mark Harmon without support from his national counterpart You Bunleng, who according to a court spokesperson said that Harmon’s evidence “showed more doubt” as to whether the suspects named in the case fell within the court’s jurisdiction. However, Bunleng added that he would “continue the discussion” and “work closely” with Judge Harmon based on standard legal and procedural and “high professionalism”.
Cases 003 and 004, which focus on mid-level cadres, have long been opposed by the government of Cambodia, which warned that war and chaos could ensue if the Khmer Rouge Tribunal continued to pursue these cases.
Human Rights Watch said last week that the Cambodian government should stop blocking justice for Khmer Rouge crimes, or the United Nations should withdraw its participation from the court and international donors should end their funding.