Khmernews

Khmer Rouge Tribunal To Prosecute People Who Were Most Responsible for Khmer Rouge Regime Next Year

Posted by khmernews on March 9, 2007

Phnom Penh: The co-prosecutors of the Extraordinary Chamber in the Courts of Cambodia [ECCC] will prosecute people who are suspected of being senior former Khmer Rouge leaders in 2007.

On the morning of the 22nd of December 2006, Ms. Chea Leang, Co-prosecutors of the ECCC, told reporters that the office of the co-prosecutors will prosecute people who are suspected of committing crimes during the Khmer Rouge regime in 2007.

She stressed that only senior leaders and people who were most responsible for the Khmer Rouge regime will be punished in accordance with a special law of the ECCC. They will be punished if they are found to have committed serious crimes between the 17th of April 1976 and 6th of January 1979. “However, we cannot mention who they are,” she added.

She further said, “Now we have been conducting investigation. After finishing the investigation, we will submit cases to the investigating judges to conduct a full investigation and then we will know who these people are.”

She continued by saying that the ECCC’s office of the co-prosecutor started its work on the 10th of July 2006 and that the co-investigating judges just started their work at the beginning of September of 2006. The work that the co-prosecutors have done so far is to summon witnesses to be questioned and to collect evidence.

Ms. Chea Leang explained that according to legal procedures, the co-prosecutors play their role in collecting evidence to launch prosecutions whilst the judges function as the legal decision makers and the people who issue the verdict.

“Up to now, we have lots of evidence, witness, victims’ answers as well as documents which can be used as a basis to launch a prosecution but no individual has been prosecuted so far,” she stressed. 

She made it known that “If we want to prosecute any individual, we have to wait until investigating judges complete their full investigation. I think that DC-Cam’s documents are crucial for the tribunal. However, in general we cannot use those documents as evidence right away but we will use them as informational sources.”

She asserted that the tribunal is not looking at the involvement of foreign countries because the tribunal law does not include this this but deals only with about crimes committed in Cambodia between 1975and 1979.

Mr. You Bun Leng, Co-investigating Judge, said, “We can continue investigation when the co-prosecutors have submitted cases to the office of the co-investigating judges.”

He went on to say, “The co-prosecutors are authorized to conduct only primary investigation such as receiving complaints from victims to find out whether the crime really occurred, what the facts are and who is involved in the case. Before bringing prosecution against the suspects, the cases must be submitted to co-investigating judges to continue a thorough investigation.

Mr. You Bun Leng affirmed, “Being a judge, we must be impartial and consider suspects who have not been found guilty as innocent people.

Mr. Reach Sambath, the ECCC’s Spokesperson, said that excluding the judges who are on standby, the Trial Chamber is comprised of five judges (three Cambodian and two non-Cambodian) and the Supreme Court Chamber consists of 7 judges (four Cambodian and three non-Cambodian). There are two co-prosecutors – a Cambodian and a non-Cambodian – and two co-investigating judges – a Cambodian and a non-Cambodian. The Pre-Trial Chamber consists of five judges, three of whom are Cambodian and the others non-Cambodians.

Extracted from: Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.14, #4166, Saturday 23 December 2006

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