Case 002 - “toxic atmosphere”

21 June 2011 by Jared Ferrie

Thirty-two years after the fall of one of the 20th century’s bloodiest regimes, a tribunal in Cambodia will begin trying the four most senior Khmer Rouge leaders still alive. But the trial commences under a cloud of controversy, with observers questioning the UN-backed court’s independence.

On June 27, the Trial Chamber will begin a four-day “Initial Hearing” to decide on the final witness list and to hear preliminary objections. Witnesses and suspects are due to take the stand in August.

The suspects in the court’s second case, known as Case 002 are: Nuon Chea, the regime’s chief ideologue, known as “Brother Number Two”; former foreign minister Ieng Sary; his wife, Ieng Thirith, who was Minister for Social Affairs; and Kheiu Samphan, the regime’s former head of state.

Last summer, in Case 001, judges sentenced torture centre chief Kaing Guek Eav, better known by his revolutionary name, “Duch”. He has filed an appeal.

Prosecutors have built two more cases – known as 003 and 004 – against an additional five suspects. But the Cambodian government has told the UN it will not allow those trials to go forward. And the investigating judges have been accused of bowing to political pressure by failing to properly investigate Case 003, thereby examining no evidence that would necessitate bringing the politically sensitive case to trial.

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