Khmernews

Senior Khmer Rouge Leaders Mays Face other Charges

Posted by khmernews on January 31, 2007

Phnom Penh: Officers of the Extraordinary Chamber in the Courts of Cambodia said that the former Khmer Rouge leaders who had been tried once for the crime of genocide and pardoned by the retired King could face other charges.

Lots of documents claimed that in 1979, the People’s Revolutionary Court charged Pol Pot and Ieng Sary with genocidal crimes in absentia.

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

The tribunal officers continued to say that whether the former Khmer Rouge leaders will be granted amnesty again or not depends 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 be charged with genocide, they will face other charges if enough evidence against them is disclosed.

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

He explained that firstly, the extraordinary court should bring those leaders to the trial again if they are suspected to have committed other crimes against humanity. Secondly, the question is whether or not the extraordinary court acknowledges the verdict of the 1979 court [People’s Revolutionary Court]. If the tribunal recognizes the 1979 court, it should accept its verdict and should consider amnesty for the former Khmer Rouge leaders already tried. “I feel more confident in the first choice than the second one,” he added.

Mr. Reach Sambath, an ECCC spokesperson, said that the government has announced that it will not propose amnesty 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 against the Cambodian constitution.

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

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

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