Khmernews

Senior Khmer Rouge Leaders Mays Face other Charges

Posted by khmernews on January 4, 2007

Phnom Penh: Officers of the Extraordinary Chamber in the Courts of Cambodia said that the former Khmer Rouge leaders who had been trial once for their genocidal crimes and who then were pardoned by the retired King would face other charges.

Lots of documents claimed that in 1979, the People’s Revolutionary Court charged Pol Pot and Ieng Sary with genocidal crimes. However, they were not present in the court and punished.

In 1996, the former King announced a royal pardon for Mr. Ieng Sary, who the People’s Revolutionary Court had charged with genocide.

In 1997, Khmer Rouge itself charged Pol Pot with crimes that he had committed against other members within his leadership organization after 1979. Then Pol Pot died in 1998.

The tribunal officers continued to say that whether the former Khmer Rouge will be granted pardon again or not depend on the decision of the judges of the Extraordinary Chamber in the Court of Cambodia [ECCC]. The tribunal judges should define the scope of the amnesty granted to the former Khmer Rouge leaders.

Although those former Khmer Rouge leaders will not have been charged with genocide, they will face other charges if enough evidence against them is disclosed.

On 23rd of December 2006, lawyer Sok Som Oeun, Executive Director of Cambodian Defenders Project, asserted that there were two choices to deal with the former Khmer Rouge leaders.

He explained that firstly, the extraordinary court must bring those leaders to the trials again if they have been found involvement in committing something illegal. Secondly, the question is whether the extraordinary court acknowledges the verdict of the 1979 court [People’s Revolutionary Court]. If the tribunal recognizes the 1979 court, it must accept its verdict and must consider about amnesty for those former Khmer Rouge leaders as well. “I feel more confident in the first choice than the second one,” he added.

Mr. Reach Sambath, an ECCC’s spokesperson, said that the government has ever announced that it will never propose for a pardon for anyone who has been investigated and found guilty by the extraordinary tribunal.

Mr. Reach Sambath further said that the minimum punishment is five-year-imprisonment and the maximum punishment is life imprisonment. However, there is no death penalty because it is contrary to the Cambodian constitution.

Ms. Chea Leang, an ECCC’s co-prosecutor, affirmed that the extraordinary court will try only individuals who committed crimes during the Khmer Rouge regime. Therefore, the court will not try countries or organizations that had involvement with the crimes.

Extracted from: Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.14, #4167, Sunday-Monday 24-25 December 2006

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