By Puy Kea
PHNOM PENH , Jan. 5 KYODO
PHNOM PENH , Jan. 5 KYODO
The U.N.-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal released a statement Monday revealing disputes between Cambodian and international co-prosecutors over whether or not to charge more suspects beyond the five now being detained. According to the court, international co-prosecutor Robert Petit filed Dec. 1, 2008 a note concerning the appropriateness of opening new judicial investigations against additional suspects for crimes committed under the Khmer Rouge, while the Cambodian co-prosecutor filed a response last Monday objecting to the filing by her colleague.
On Dec. 1, 2008, the international co-prosecutor proposed filing two new Introductory Submissions and one Supplementary Submission, saying the crimes were committed, the crimes are within the jurisdiction of the Court, and those should be investigated by the Co-Investigating Judges. He said the charges would lead to a more comprehensive accounting of crimes that were committed under the Khmer Rouge's Democratic Kampuchea regime during 1975-79, according to the statement.
He added he did not believe that such prosecutions would endanger Cambodia 's peace and stability. But, Cambodian co-prosecutor Chea Leang said investigations should not proceed on account of Cambodia 's past instability and the continued need for national reconciliation, the spirit of the agreement between the United Nations and Cambodia , the spirit of the law that established the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia and the limited duration and budget of the ECCC.
She said the ECCC should instead prioritize the trials of the five suspects already detained. When asked how many new suspects being identified by the international co-prosecutor, Reach Sambath, spokesman for the ECCC, said he didn't know but an ECCC source suggested the number could be six. Of the current five suspects, Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, who is accused of having a leadership role in the deaths of 14,000 people in Tuol Sleng prison during Khmer Rouge rule, is expected to be tried in the first quarter of this year.
The four other former Khmer Rouge figures charged and detained at ECCC facilities are Nuon Chea, better known as Brother No. 2 in the Khmer Rouge hierarchy after leader Pol Pot; Khieu Samphan who was head of state; Ieng Sary who was the regime's foreign minister; and Ieng Sary's wife Ieng Thirith who was the social affairs minister. The Khmer Rouge leadership is blamed for the deaths of at least 1.7 million Cambodians during its rule.
KyodoJanuary 05, 2009