Khmernews

Who Is The First Former KR Leader To Be Issued Investigative Request By The Co-prosecutors?

Posted by khmernews on July 31, 2007

Mut Sruoch

The process of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal has been changed after the internal rules for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) were adopted. And what is making national and international communities interested is the opening of the foreign lawyer registration in the KR Tribunal.

Meanwhile, it is expected that the investigative request will be sent to the KR Tribunal’s co-investigating judges soon although the KR Tribunal’s co-prosecutors admit that it has not been finished yet.

“Now, we’re preparing [the investigative request] in order to send [to the co-investigating judges]. However, it’s not finished yet since it’s a complicated issue and there are many more documents. Therefore, we cannot send it immediately,” said ECCC’s co-prosecutor Chea Leang.

In a press conference on June 13, the co-prosecutors of the KR Tribunal announced that the first investigative request would be sent to the co-investigating judges in 2 to 3 weeks before the indictments were brought against any former KR leaders.

The announcement has been made one day after the complicated internal rules were adopted for the process of the trials.

Robert Petit, co-prosecutor of the KR Tribunal, claimed about the slow process of the KR Tribunal that the co-prosecutors were scrutinizing carefully and trying to make work qualitative.

“We are really in the final stage of completing the outside format instead of the whole content. Truly, we want to send an investigative request which shows a format of the tasks so that it becomes the most complete and widest. [We’ll] do it as much as we can,” pointed out Robert Petit.

Heather Ryan, director of Cambodia’s Open Society Justice Initiative, who has observed the KR Tribunal very carefully, said that the slow process was not the concerns. “But the delays of the Khmer Rouge trials will happen in the future.”

“We don’t know clearly the things that are involved, but I’m not worried about the slow progress in the last month after the adoption of the internal rules. There will be many other delays after the first week of August since there is a sign that problems will occur. But now I think they might have problems which make them not able to finish the first investigative request,” said Heather Ryan.

The ECCC has 3 years for the trials of the former Khmer Rouge leaders who are the “owners” of the Killing Fields regime which caused the “chain massacres” of as many as 2 million people. The hybrid court has spent almost two years, but there are no trials of any accused people held yet while people responsible for the brutal Khmer Rouge regime are aging and dying one after another.

However, it’s claimed that the first investigative request will be sent to the co-investigating judges soon so as to open way for the first indictment against suspects.

Observers of the Khmer Rouge trials said that the suspects were living freely without ‘little’ fear [of the trials].

For instance, Nuon Chea, brother no. 2 after Pol Pot, [brother no. 1], known as Salot Sar, once said that there were no mass killings during the Democratic Kampuchea (DK) Regime and that those piles of bones were invented.

Nuon Chea, moreover, claimed that the money which had been spent on the establishment of the KR Tribunal should be better used for building irrigations and health care centers.

Ieng Sary, brother no. 3 of the genocidal regime, is living with freedom. He, say, can go everywhere he wants and sometimes he and his wife even go abroad.

It is said that Khieu Samphan, an important person amongst the senior leaders of the DK regime, doesn’t care about the KR Tribunal, which is running very slowly, at all. Khieu Samphan rarely appears in the public since he hates journalists, who always hunt him for news.

At present, only Kang Kek Ieu, commonly known as Duch, has been detained in Military Prison. His health is getting worse and worse. It’s not sure whether he could clarify in court about the crimes in Tuol Sleng prison or not.

However, it is said that although the co-prosecutors of the KR Tribunal send the investigative request to the co-investigating judges, still there would be legal problems since Kar Savuth, Duch’s lawyer, has just claimed that he had no documents to defend his client. Can the tribunal prosecute Duch? These are the problems that should not be overlooked.

Informal Translation
-Extracted from Moneaksekar Khmer, vol.14, #3209, Friday, June 13, 2007.

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