Tag Archives: Khieu Samphan

200 Khmer Rouge Tribunal Workers Strike for Unpaid Wages

Khmer Rouge Legacy

Khmer Rouge Legacy (Photo credit: NewportPreacher)

Nearly 200 Cambodian workers at the Khmer Rouge tribunal have gone on strike to protest unpaid salaries.

Prosecutors and defense lawyers are due to file closing submissions for the trial’s first phase by September 19, with oral arguments to begin October 16. A prolonged strike could hold up translation and administrative work and delay this timetable.

Cambodian authorities – technically obliged to bankroll the court’s domestic arm – have largely relied on foreign donors to pay the bill, while the U.N. is responsible for up keeping the court’s international arm.

The Khmer Rouge, a radical Marxist movement, came to power in Cambodia in the aftermath of the Vietnam war and sought to create an agricultural utopia in the Southeast Asian nation. The Communist group killed educated citizens and forced urban residents to move to rural collectives, failed spectacularly. About one-quarter of the country’s population perished from starvation, disease, overwork and executions.

The proceedings against Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan is the tribunal’s second trial, which has already lost two of its original four defendants since it started in 2011. Ieng Sary, foreign minister during the Khmer Rouge regime, died at age 87 in March. His wife, Ieng Thirith, the regime’s social affairs minister now aged 81, was released last year after being deemed unfit to stand trial due to severe dementia. Trial observers and victims groups fear that Nuon and Khieu could die before their trial is completed.

The tribunal’s only conviction occurred in 2010, when former prison chief Kaing Guek Eav was found guilty of crimes against humanity relating to the torture and deaths of about 15,000 people. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, a former Khmer Rouge officer, has opposed further indictments.

Via WSJ.

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Khmer Rouge Leader: Duch “Very Bad” for Not Destroying Evidence

A shrine containing the bones of those killed at the Khmer Rouge killing fields outside Phnom Penh. Photo by Lindsay.

A convicted ex-jailer told the Khmer Rouge tribunal that a top leader accused him three decades ago of being “very bad” for failing to destroy evidence at his prison.

The U.N.-backed court sentenced Duch (pronounced “Doik”) to life in prison for overseeing the deaths of 15,000 people at the S-21 torture prison in Phnom Penh.

Duch is back on the stand this week to testify in the trial of three ex-leaders of the 1975-1979 regime, including his former boss “Brother Number Two” Nuon Chea.

Duch informed Mr. Nuon in the 1980s that he left the documents behind during the last days of the regime, when Vietnamese forces ousted the Khmer Rouge.

Duch recalled that Mr. Nuon then told him: “On my side, we destroyed them all, you were very bad that you could not manage this.”

The documents included hundreds of confessions and photos of tortured prisoners that were later used as evidence against Duch.

Mr. Nuon and Duch, who are held at the same detention center, are on bad terms.

Mr. Nuon, ex-foreign minister Ieng Sary, and former head of state Khieu Samphan, deny charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

Led by Pol Pot, who died in 1998, the Khmer Rouge wiped out nearly a quarter of the population through starvation, overwork, and execution.

Via The Bangkok Post.

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Khmer Rouge Prison Chief Testifies against Former Party Leaders

Kang Kek Iew 2009

Kang Kek Iew 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Khmer Rouge’s chief jailer began a week of testimony Monday at Cambodia’s U.N.-backed tribunal against three of the regime’s surviving leaders.

It was the first courtroom appearance by Kaing Guek Eav (known as Duch) since February, when the tribunal’s appeals court sentenced him to life imprisonment for committing “shocking and heinous” crimes against the Cambodian people.

The three senior Khmer Rouge figures on trial are eighty-five-year-old Nuon Chea, the Khmer Rouge’s chief ideologist and “Brother Number Two”; eighty-year-old Khieu Samphan, an ex-head of state; and Ieng Sary, the eighty-six-year-old former foreign minister.

All three are accused of crimes against humanity, genocide, religious persecution, homicide, and torture.

Unlike Duch, who admitted his role in the killings and asked for forgiveness, the three say they did no wrong.

Duch commanded Phnom Penh‘s top-secret Tuol Sleng prison, where up to 16,000 people were tortured before being sent for execution at the “killing fields.”

During Monday’s court appearance he wore a prison uniform. A judge ordered security to let him wear civilian clothing for the rest of his testimony.

Via the Associated Press.

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Khmer Rouge Tribunal Has New Special Expert

The United Nations has named a new special expert to advise the Khmer Rouge trials in Cambodia.

David Scheffer, the former US ambassador-at-large for war crime issues, is ”very well qualified to provide expert advice”, the UN said in a statement released on Wednesday.

He replaces Clint Williamson, whose term expired on September 30, 2011.

The UN-backed genocide court is seeking justice for almost two million deaths under the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s.

Ieng Sary pre-trial detention hearing on 11 Fe...

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Mr. Scheffer was involved in the establishment of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, said the UN statement. He also helped set up the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the International Criminal Court, and the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

In November 2011, three top Khmer Rouge leaders, Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary, went on trial for crimes committed during the regime’s rule.

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Khmer Rouge Defense Questions Prime Minister’s Comments

5 December 2011

Image by Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia via Flickr

Defence lawyers for former Khmer Rouge Brother Number Two Nuon Chea criticized remarks made by Prime Minister Hun Sen about their client.

Co-defence counsel for Nuon Chea Michiel Pestman said in court that the remarks by Hun Sen, quoted by a journalist at a press conference in Vietnam last week, referred to Nuon Chea as a “killer” and described his statement in court last month as “deceitful”.

“This is a very clear statement about the guilt of Nuon Chea by a high government official,” Mr. Pestman said in court. He said in court that the journalist had quoted Hun Sen as allegedly calling their client “a killer and a perpetrator of genocide”. He told the court that the comments violate his client’s right to a fair trial and that it was “not up to the Prime Minister to decide whether my client is guilty”.

Ek Tha, representative at the Press and Quick Reaction Unit at the Council of Ministers, declined to comment on the premier’s alleged comments.

Nuon Chea is facing trial for genocide, crimes against humanity, and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions.

Via the Phnom Penh Post.

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“Unfit” Khmer Rouge First Lady to Stay in Detention

30 Aug 2011: Ieng Thirith during the second da...

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On Tuesday, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) ordered that Ieng Thirith, a Khmer Rouge defendant ruled unfit to stand trial, will stay detained to see if her mental condition improves.

The supreme court chamber reversed a lower chamber ruling that would have freed the seventy-nine-year-old whose doctors concluded has Alzheimer’s disease. Prosecutors appealed against her release. Ms. Ieng is facing charges for her role as the social affairs minister during the 1975-1979 Khmer Rouge regime.

The ruling came during the second week of testimony in the trial of three former Khmer Rouge senior officials. On trial is Ms. Ieng’s husband, Ieng Sary, who was the Khmer Rouge foreign minister.

The ECCC is seeking justice for two million people who died of execution, lack of medical care, or starvation under the Khmer Rouge. The defendants are charged with crimes against humanity, genocide, homicide, religious persecution, and torture. All have pleaded innocent. Ms. Ieng claims to have always worked for the benefit of the people.

Ms. Ieng will remain in the ECCC’s detention center until she can be detained at a place to undergo medical treatment. After six months of treatment, she will undergo another examination so the Trial Chamber can make a new assessment of her fitness to stand trial.

Ms. Ieng is the sister-in-law of Khmer Rouge supreme leader Pol Pot, who died in 1998.

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Khmer Rouge Leader Calls Accusations Against Him a “Fairy Tale”

Khieu Samphan at a public hearing before the P...

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A Khmer Rouge leader insisted Wednesday he had no authority during the regime’s rule of Cambodia and allegations he bore responsibility for its atrocities were a “fairy tale.”

Head of state Khieu Samphan told a tribunal he was a figurehead who never joined key policy meetings in the radical communist government, which is accused of orchestrating the “killing fields” and causing the deaths of 1.7 million Cambodians in the 1970s.

In his rebuttal, he said the prosecutors’ opening remarks were exaggerations based mainly on unreliable old news reports and books.

After the trial of Khieu Samphan and two other leaders opened Monday, prosecutors described the pitiless policies the Khmer Rouge imposed to build an agrarian utopia.

The tribunal is seeking justice on behalf of the quarter of Cambodia’s population who died from executions, starvation, disease and overwork under the Khmer Rouge rule.

The defendants are the most senior surviving members of the regime: Khieu Samphan; Nuon Chea, the group’s chief ideologist; and former Foreign Minister Ieng Sary. They are charged with crimes against humanity, genocide, persecution, homicide, and torture.

The Khmer Rouge’s supreme leader, Pol Pot, died in 1998 in Cambodia’s jungles while a prisoner of his own comrades.

Khieu Samphan stressed the nationalist credentials of the Khmer Rouge, who opposed French colonialism, fought against a pro-Western regime and its U.S. backers, and finally forced a showdown with neighboring Vietnam.

Mr. Khieu’s French lawyer, Jacques Verges, dismissed the prosecution statements as similar to the novels of Alexandre Dumas, author of dashing adventure yarns.

Khieu Samphan has said he has known Verges since he attended university in France in the 1950s, when both were active in student movements against French colonialism.

“He and I used to attend meetings of student committees against colonialism. That’s what bound us together in friendship,” Mr. Khieu said in a 2004 interview with The Associated Press.

Verges has defended Venezuelan terrorist Carlos the Jackal and Nazi Gestapo officer Klaus Barbie and is noted for a slashing, sarcastic courtroom style, aimed as much at discrediting the judicial establishment as getting his clients off the hook.

Khieu Samphan, along with Verges, reminded the court that intensive U.S. bombing of his country during the Vietnam War contributed to its misery. “Can you imagine what my country faced after such bloody killing and war?” Mr. Khieu declared.

While decrying the case against him, Khieu Samphan added that he welcomed the opportunity to explain his role to the Cambodian public.

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