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Judges Expected To End Investigation of Five Leaders

Judges at the Khmer Rouge tribunal are expected next week to announce an end to the investigation of senior leaders in custody, paving the way for a trial next year, officials said Tuesday.

Investigating judges Marcel Lemonde and You Bunleng “will announce the end of the investigation to parties by next week,” tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath said Tuesday.

The judges have been examining evidence in Case No. 002, which seeks to try Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith and Kaing Kek Iev, also known as Duch, for atrocity crimes.

The end of the investigation marks the beginning of a 30-day period for the defense to appeal the conclusions of the judges, before the case moves forward to trial.

Judges have said they will employ joint criminal enterprise, a doctrine of liability that pursues crimes via a defendant’s participation in a common criminal plan.

Nuon Chea defense attorney Son Arun told VOA Khmer the team planned to appeal for further investigations of potential defense witnesses.

Reach Sambath urged victims of the regime to register complaints with the tribunal’s Victims Unit before the third week of the month.

The tribunal, which completed its first case, against Duch, in October, has asked donors for an additional $93 million in funding over the next two years.

Last month, investigating judges added charges of genocide to the charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for four of the senior-most leaders in custody—though not including Duch. Observers worry the new charges could actually prolong the beginning of the trial, expected early this year.