Five more suspects in Phnom Penh

16 September 2009 by Thierry Cruvellier

No more than ten former members of the Khmer Rouge will be prosecuted before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). On September 7th, the interim international co-prosecutor William Smith submitted to the office of the co-investigating judges what he said were his final requests for investigation. They relate to five individuals, charged in two separate submissions, thus adding to the five people already prosecuted in 2007.

The identities of the accused have not been released, but it is widely expected that former high-ranking military leaders Sou Met and Meas Mut make up one of the new cases, while it’s thought the other case involves three Khmer Rouge cadres who acted at the district level.

The Cambodian government has publicly and unequivocally opposed all prosecutions other than the five that have been under way for the last two years.

The Cambodian co-prosecutor Chea Leang appeared to support her government, when she opposed the additional investigations requested by her international colleague. But after nine months of deliberation, in an August 18th decision made public September 2nd, the five judges of the pre-trial chamber indicated that they had not been able to resolve the disagreement between the co-prosecutors—the three Cambodian judges opposed the new submissions, while their two international colleagues gave their approval. In the absence of a super majority of four votes, the international prosecutor is thus free to act.

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