Case 002 a “welcome filip” for ECCC?
The elderly defendants deny charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. They stand accused of responsibility for the deaths of up to 2.2 million people during the Khmer Rouge’s 1975-79 rule. Tribunal spokesman Lars Olsen explained the significance of Case 002, as it is known in court parlance.
“This is the case of those who are accused of being the leaders and of implementing the policies that allegedly led to the crimes for which they are being tried,” he said.
The defendants are: Nuon Chea, who is known as Brother Number Two and was the deputy to the movement’s late leader Pol Pot; head of state Khieu Samphan; foreign minister Ieng Sary; and his wife, social affairs minister Ieng Thirith.
The four are aged between 79 and 85 and suffer from a number of health problems. Ieng Thirith, who is believed to have Alzheimer’s disease, may yet be found unfit to stand trial.
Last month the tribunal said it had decided to separate the charges against the defendants – who will be tried together – effectively dividing the case into a number of smaller hearings.
Judgements along the way
That decision means the court can hand down judgements as the trial proceeds, rather than delivering a single verdict after the full trial, which would likely take years with the risk of defendants dying prior to its conclusion.