Genocide charges against former Khmer Rouge leaders 16 Dec 2009
The ECCC, tasked with prosecuting crimes committed during the brutal Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia in the 1970s, has issued its first genocide charges against two former leaders.

Victims of the Khmer Rouge regimeThe Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) this week issued genocide charges against two leaders of the former Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. ‘Brother Number Two’, Nuon Chea and Ieng Sary, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Democratic Kampuchea, were informed of the charges in a hearing this week.

The Khmer Rouge, led by ‘Brother Number One’, Pol Pot, waged a brutal campaign in Cambodia in the 1970s to empty the country’s cities in a bid to forge a communist utopia. In the process, nearly two million people were killed.

Nuon Chea and Ieng Sary face genocide charges for the targeting of Vietnamese and ethnic Cham Muslims during the period from April 1975 to January 1979. It is alleged that genocide was committed through torture, starvation, overwork, forcible transfers, as well as executions. The two accused have been in detention since 2007.

Joint Criminal Enterprise

On top of the new genocide charges, Nuon Chea and Ieng Sary face additional charges for crimes committed during the Khmer Rouge regime. Nuon Chea faces charges of murder, torture, imprisonment, persecution, extermination, deportation, forcible transfer, enslavement and other inhumane acts as crimes against humanity, as well as willful killing, torture, inhumane acts, causing great suffering, unlawful confinement and unlawful deportation or transfer, as war crimes. Ieng Sary is charged with crimes against humanity for murder, extermination, imprisonment, persecution and other inhumane acts, as well as willful killing, willfully causing great suffering, unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement of civilians, as war crimes.

Two other accused are also in the detention of the Court awaiting trial charged with similar offences: Ieng Sary’s wife, Ieng Thirith and the former Head of State, Khieu Samphan. At the end of November the ECCC also heard closing arguments in the first case at the Court against Kaing Guek Eav or ‘Duch’, a former Khmer Rouge prison chief.

Earlier in December, judges at the ECCC announced that the controversial doctrine of ‘Joint Criminal Enterprise’, a form of responsibility under which accused can be found guilty for crimes committed as part of a common plan, could be applied at the Court.

Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

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