The Trial Chamber at the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal has issued a decision concerning the scope of an upcoming trial of two aging regime leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan.
The second and final phase of their case will include “charges related to genocide, forced marriages and rape, treatment of Buddhists, internal purges, targeting of former Khmer Republic officials, four security centers, three worksites and one cooperative,” the court said in a statement.
The announcement sets the stage for a second phase of trials against the two men and represents compromises from suggestions made by defense teams, civil parties and prosecutors.
The scope will include Tuol Sleng prison, known to the Khmer Rouge as S-21, the 1 January Dam Worksite, and the Trak Kok cooperative. It will also include the killing of Vietnamese and Cham Muslim minorities.
Long Panhavuth, a tribunal monitor for the Cambodia Justice Initiative, said the scope of the trial was a representation of Khmer Rouge atrocity crimes committed during its nearly four years in power, from 1975 to 1979. The decision will allow many witnesses and much evidence to be put on the public record, he said.
But he and other observers said they are also concerned the wide scope could be unwieldy and cause delays to a case that has already been prolonged.
All parties are now invited to begin filing witnesses and experts, documents and other pertinent information, the court said. The Trial Chamber will then schedule an initial hearing for the case and determine an order of priority for trial topics.