Monday, November 16, 2009

KRT Outlines Progress of Judicial Investigations

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia (ECCC) has announced that the co-investigating judges’ judicial investigations of Case No.002 against jailed former Khmer Rouge leaders will be completely done by the end of December 2009. The announcement was made by Reach Sambath, Chief of Public Affairs of the ECCC.

Reach Sambath said that the Khmer Rouge tribunal co-investigating judges planned to submit Case No. 002 against Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith for ECCC’s plenary session after the completion of these investigations.

“We are now happy to announce publicly that the co-investigations of Case No. 002 against Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith will be completed by the end of December 2009. We hope that after the completion of the co-investigations, the ECCC will be able to try the jailed former Khmer Rouge leaders before they die,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly during a telephone interview on October 6.

Relating to investigation, Sambath pointed out that the investigation has covered 16 provinces and cities and will group the five jailed leaders together, including Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, who has been undergoing a separate trial for his role as chief of Tuol Sleng prison.

Sambath said that Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith are also being investigated under Case No.002. He added that the investigation had found instances of forced labor in 6 provinces, as well as 13 detention centers and execution sites in 10 provinces. Investigators are also looking into forced evictions and marriages and crimes against ethnic minorities, Muslims and Vietnamese living in Cambodia during that time.

He called on the victims to continue to register as witnesses and complainants with ECCC’s Victims Unit in order to provide witness testimony to the crimes committed by former KR Leaders during their rule in Cambodia from 1975-1979.

“If the victims want to become a civil party, they need to apply as soon as possible to the Victims Units of ECCC. We now are ready to help them in working against the jailed leaders of the regime,” he said.

Helen Jarvis, Head of the ECCC’s Victims Unit, said that so far the tribunal has received more than 5,000 complaints from victims in cases No. 001 and No. 002. She added that around 1,482 have filed complaints as victims for the Case No. 002.

Relating to Case No.001 against Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, Sambath said that since the commencement of the substantive part of the trial on March 30, 2009, the Trial Chamber has been in session for 72 trial days. He said that during this period 9 expert witnesses, 17 fact witnesses, 7 character witnesses and 22 civil parties have given testimonies. A total of 23,742 visitors have observed the trial from the public gallery in the court room, making a daily average of 330 visitors.

He added that according to the ECCC, the hearing of Case No. 001 against Kaing Guek Eav will be completely done on November 26 and his verdict will be officially announced in the first trimester of 2010.

According to the ECCC, there are currently five former Khmer Rouge leaders who have been arrested and jailed related to their mass killings and crimes committed during the Khmer Rouge regime from 1975-1979. The five jailed leaders included Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, Former Chief of S-21; Nuon Chea, Deputy Secretary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, a member of the CPK Central and Standing Committees, the Chairman of the Democratic Kampuchea People’s Assembly, the Acting Prime Minister and the Vice Chairman of the CPK Centre Military Committee; Ieng Sary, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs in Democratic Kampuchea; Ieng Thirith, Minster of Social Affairs and Action, and Khieu Samphan, Head of State of Democratic Kampuchea. They all were charged with crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, offences which are defined and punishable under Articles 5, 6, 29 and 39 of the Law on the Establishment of the Extraordinary Chambers as amended on October 27, 2004.

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