25, 2013, 2:35 AM
JOINT PRESS RELEASE
Given the recent delays in Case 002, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) faces ever mounting pressure to bring to a juridical close the three year, eight month, and twenty-day period of the Khmer Rouge regime, which was responsible for the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians. The passing of Ieng Sary and the dismissal of Ieng Thirith for mental unfitness—and the advanced age and poor health of the remaining two Khmer Rouge defendants (Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan)—make imperative the need for an efficient and exhaustive decision on the liability of Khmer Rouge era atrocities. The deaths of Pol Pot, Ta Mok, and now Ieng Sary, have represented a loss of opportunity for survivors to attain justice and establish a historical, judicial record of the crimes.
Currently, the tribunal’s focus on the involuntary evacuation of Phnom Penh and the forced transfer of civilians is important for the historical basis of the crimes but does not fully attend to the regime’s most severe human rights abuses, crimes and violations. Given that this trial may be the only opportunity for survivors in Cambodia and in the diaspora to see justice, the Applied Social Research Institute of Cambodia (ASRIC), the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC) and Victims Association of Democratic Kampuchea (KsaemKsan) make an impassioned request to expand the charges to move beyond the early days of the regime and instead encompass the most egregious violations alleged against the remaining defendants. By considering other charges (inclusive of genocide and forced marriage), the ECCC would be better suited to render a meaningful ruling for survivors, who have waited almost four decades for justice, before the remaining senior leaders have passed and the opportunity for justice is closed.
It is therefore in the spirit of expanded justice that ASRIC, CHRAC and KsaemKsan would like to call the Trial Chamber to prioritize the most serious crimes alleged against the remaining defendants, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, in the current trials of Case 002.