Understanding of Extraordinary Chambers or Khmer Rouge Tribunal
Posted by khmernews on November 28, 2007
Every Cambodian aged 35 and above has gone through the sufferings of the 1975-1979 Democratic Kampuchea regime, led by Pol Pot. All the atrocities have been recorded and remembered.
As the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) or the Khmer Rouge Tribunal (KRT) has been established, all victims are interested and delighted because they believe that people who have done something bad will be responsible for their deeds. The perpetrators of the atrocities will be tried, and justice will be given to the victims. [It] will be a warning to next generation and a “lawful revenge”. However, the trial is also a part of the national reconciliation.
Although the ECCC or KRT has been established for a while, there are many doubts which have struck people and the victims. In order to reduce the ambiguity, we would like to extract some documents about the ECCC or KRT.
The court is authorized to try crimes committed between April 17, 1975 and January 6, 1979. Crimes the court can try include willful killings, torture, religious persecution, genocidal crimes, crimes against humanity, war crimes, destruction of cultural property in the event of armed conflict, and crimes against diplomats.
Those the ECCC or KRT will bring to trial are the former senior leaders of the Democratic Kampuchea regime and people most responsible for crimes committed only. This court will not bring all the Khmer Rouge to trial. This court, to say, tries only the senior Khmer Rouge leaders since [the court] wants both justice and peace. Moreover, other previous special courts which were established in other countries tried only senior leaders and those most responsible for crimes too.
This court is divided into two, the Trial Chamber and the Supreme Court Chamber. Besides, there is another preliminary trial chamber which is called “the Pre-Trial Chamber” as a legal term.
The Trial Chamber is the first court which has the power to decide whether [the accused] is guilty or not by issuing a verdict. The Trial Chamber is composed of five judges, of whom three are Cambodian judges and two foreign judges. The decision made by the Trial Chamber can be appealed to the Supreme Court Chamber.
The Supreme Court Chamber is the second ranking court which is authorized to try the verdict of the Trial Chamber. The Supreme Court Chamber is composed of 7 judges, of whom four are Cambodian judges and three foreign judges. The decision by this court is the last decision and cannot be appealed.
The Pre-Trial Chamber is a court which is not authorized to try anyone but created to solve the disagreement between the prosecutor and the prosecutor and between the Investigating Judge and the Investigating Judge. This court is composed of 5 judges, of whom three are Cambodian judges and two foreign judges. The trial can be held close or open to the public and the decision made by this court is the first decision and cannot be appealed.
The KRT started in March 2006 and judges were sworn in in July 2006. Benefits from the trial are justice for Cambodians (both living and deceased) so as to compensate the victims, to heal their emotional wounds, to warn next leaders not to do the same, and to make the history known clearly by Cambodians in order to prevent atrocities.
-Extracted from Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol. 15, #4442, Wednesday, November 21, 2007.