Khmer Rouge Tribunal: last attempt at a crucial trial

15 April 2014 by Julia Wallace, Phnom Penh (Cambodia)

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) defined, on April 4, the scope of the second trial of the last two senior Khmer Rouge leaders. The judges have given a go ahead for what should be, on paper, a crucial trial before the ECCC, which finally addresses the most serious crimes of the Khmer Rouge: genocide, forced labour, forced marriage, rape and internal purges. 

The two remaining defendants in this case, the regime's chief ideologue, Nuon Chea and the former head of state Khieu Samphan, had previously been through a two year long 'mini-trial' that ended in October 2013, focusing almost entirely on forced evacuations. A verdict for this first part of the process is expected in the second quarter of 2014. 

The wait for a trial on the major crimes committed under the Khmer Rouge has been excruciating for Pen Soeun, 59, a civil party participating in the case, who filed a complaint over his forced marriage. "I've waited too long, he said. I was forced to marry someone I didn't love and had to live with her until our four children grew up, graduated, and could be independent." Mr. Soeun said he hoped there would be no more delay. 'Finally, the tribunal has made the decision to process,' he said.

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