ECCC: judges bowing to political pressure?

31 August 2011 by Jared Ferrie

Judges will announce “sometime next year” if two politically sensitive cases will be heard at Cambodia’s tribunal, according to the court’s international co-prosecutor. The decision will hinge on whether the suspects can be considered “senior leaders or those most responsible” for crimes committed by the Khmer Rouge regime.

Andrew Cayley made the comments during a presentation to about 70 teachers attending a training course on Khmer Rouge history. In a question and answer period following his talk, one teacher asked about the status of the court's third and fourth cases (003 and 004), which the government has warned will not be “allowed” to go to trial.

Cayley noted that prosecutors built those cases before he was appointed to the court in 2009.

“They were put into my lap,” he told the teachers. “The only thing I can do is follow the law and the rules of the court in addressing these case. Ultimately, it will be a matter for the judges to decide whether people involved in these cases were senior leaders or those most responsible.”

Mid-ranking cadres
The identities of the suspects have not been released, but leaked documents reveal that 003 involves the heads of the Khmer Rouge navy and air force, while the suspects in 004 were mid-ranking cadres who allegedly oversaw mass killings and other atrocities in areas under their control.

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