PHNOM PENH —
The international prosecutor at the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal have requested that investigations into a fourth case still pending at the court include crimes of sexual violence and forced marriage.
A trial of Case 004, which is still under investigation at the court, would require three indictments of former Khmer Rouge commanders, and critics say it may never see full trial.
But Nicholas Koumjian, the international prosecutor at the court, said in a statement Thursday his office has reviewed evidence of forced marriages of up to 80 couples, as well as rapes that took place before executions. He has submitted his findings to the court for investigation.
“This Submission is based on new evidence that has become available since the filing of the Case 004 Introductory Submission,” Koumjian said in his statement. “It was located in numerous applications of civil party victims in Case 002 and in the statements of evidence being collected from witnesses on an ongoing basis in Case 004.”
Koumjian said the international prosecution had analyzed the information over the last few months and found that the allegations constitute “crimes against humanity including extermination, murder, enslavement, imprisonment, torture, rape, persecution and other inhumane acts.”
Duong Savorn, project coordinator for the Cambodian Defenders Project, welcomed the request, “even if it’s a bit late.”
Civil society organizations and victims of the regime have been requesting these crimes be a part of the tribunal for a long time, he said.
Such violence was widespread during the Khmer Rouge regime, he said, but many victims “do not dare reveal it.”