Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia: Wikis


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The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia for the Prosecution of Crimes Committed During the Period of Democratic Kampuchea, commonly known as Cambodia Tribunal, is a joint court established by the Royal Government of Cambodia and the United Nations to try senior members of the Khmer Rouge for crimes against humanity, including genocide.



In 1997, Cambodia established a Khmer Rouge Trial Task Force to create a legal and judicial structure to try the remaining leaders for war crimes and other crimes against humanity, but progress was slow. The government said that due to the poor economy and other financial commitments, it could only afford limited funding for the tribunal. Several countries, including Canada, India and Japan, came forward with extra funds, but by January 2006, the full balance of funding was not yet in place.

Nonetheless, the Task Force began its work and took possession of two buildings on the grounds of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) High Command headquarters in Kandal province just on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. In March 2006, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, nominated seven judges for a trial of the Khmer Rouge leaders.

In May 2006, Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana announced that Cambodia's highest judicial body approved 30 Cambodian and United Nations judges to preside over the long-awaited genocide tribunal for surviving Khmer Rouge leaders. The judges were sworn in early July 2006.[1]


Under the agreement between Cambodia and the UN, the tribunal is to be composed of both local and international judges.

Both the Pre-Trial Chamber and the Trial Chamber are composed of three Cambodian and two international judges, while a Supreme Court Chamber is made up of four Cambodian judges and three international judges.

All international judges have been appointed by the Supreme Council of the Magistracy of Cambodia from a list of nominees submitted by the UN Secretary-General. There are also Reserve judges who may be called upon to serve in the event of an emergency.

The judges will serve out their terms until the Tribunal completes its work.

The current judges are:

Supreme Court Chamber

Name Country of Origin
Motoo Noguchi Japan Japan
Chandra Nihal Jayasinghe Sri Lanka Sri Lanka
Agnieszka Klonowiecka-Milart Poland Poland
Kong Srim Cambodia Cambodia
Som Sereyvuth Cambodia Cambodia
Sin Rith Cambodia Cambodia
Martin Karopkin : Reserve United States USA
Mong Monichariya : Reserve Cambodia Cambodia

Trial Chamber

Name Country of Origin
Silvia Cartwright New Zealand New Zealand
Jean-Marc Lavergne France France
Nil Nonn Cambodia Cambodia
Thou Mony Cambodia Cambodia
Ya Sokhan Cambodia Cambodia
Claudia Fenz : Reserve Austria Austria
You Ottara : Reserve Cambodia Cambodia

Pre-Trial Chamber

Name Country of Origin
Katinka Lahuis Netherlands Netherlands
Rowan Downing Australia Australia
Prak Kimsan Cambodia Cambodia
Hout Vuthy Cambodia Cambodia
Ney Thol Cambodia Cambodia
Pen Pichsaly : Reserve Cambodia Cambodia


Investigating Judges

  • France Marcel Lemonde
  • Cambodia You Bun Leng

Principal Defender

  • United Kingdom Richard Rogers


On July 19, 2007, the prosecutors submitted a list of five charged persons to the Tribunal's Co-Investigating Judges, and requested that they be indicted and brought to trial. To date, only Kang Kek Iew, also known as "Duch", has been indicted; the other four charged persons remain under judicial investigation.[2]


Kang Kek Iew

On July 31, 2007, the Tribunal indicted the first suspect: Kang Kek Iew. After the death of Ta Mok (The Butcher) while in custody in July 2006, Kang Kek Iew (also seen as Kaing Guek Eav) remained the only member of the regime imprisoned and awaiting trial. He used to be the governor of the Tuol Sleng prison, a centre of torture. In the late 1970s, an estimated 16,000 people were tortured there, of whom only seven or ten are known to have survived. Kang Kek Iew, who converted to Christianity, admitted guilt, but contends that everything he did was by order of others.[3]

Nuon Chea

On September 19, 2007, Nuon Chea, the chief political ideologist of the Khmer Rouge and right-hand man of Pol Pot, was arrested and put in the custody of the Tribunal. He was brought to Phnom Penh and charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity.[4]

The second of five central figures recommended for trial, Nuong Chea is the highest ranking official to be detained. Although he is quoted in a September 2007 Associated Press interview as being ready to face the tribunal, he has consistently denied any wrongdoing. "I was president of the National Assembly and had nothing to do with the operation of the government," he said in the interview. "Sometimes I didn't know what they were doing because I was in the assembly." At 82 years old, he may never live to see the trials which are finally scheduled to begin in early 2008.

Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith

Two more arrests took place on November 12, 2007. Former Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Ieng Sary, and his wife, former Minister of Social Affairs Ieng Thirith, were taken from their home in Phnom Penh by police and by officials of the Tribunal. Both are charged with crimes against humanity, Ieng Sary with war crimes as well.

According to a filing by the prosecutors of July 18, 2007, of which The Associated Press obtained a copy, Ieng Sary, "promoted, instigated, facilitated, encouraged and/or condoned the perpetration of the crimes" when the Khmer Rouge held power. His wife, Ieng Thirith, is believed to have participated in "planning, direction, coordination and ordering of widespread purges ... and unlawful killing or murder of staff members from within the Ministry of Social Affairs".[5]

Khieu Samphan

Former Chief of State Khieu Samphan was arrested on 19 November, 2007, in Phnom Penh when he left the hospital where he had been treated for a stroke he reportedly suffered on 13 November, 2007.[6] He was charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes. Presumably this arrest means that all five suspects listed for indictment by the prosecutors on 19 July, 2007 are now indicted and in detention.

The Hearings

On 4 February, 2008, the tribunal held its first hearing. Webcasts of these hearings and copies of legal documents filed by the parties and the tribunal can be viewed online at the Cambodia Tribunal Monitor website.[7]

See also


External links


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