KRT Monitor has been keeping up with ECCC submissions and important court updates following Closing Statements of Case 002/01 on our Facebook page. Read below for the compiled monthly updates throughout 2014.
ECCC Update, December – January 2014
On 11-13 December 2013, Trial Chamber President Nil Nonn summoned the Parties to discuss how to proceed with Case 002/02, including whether a second Trial Chamber panel is necessary to preside over the case and what the scope for Case 002/02 should be. Within a week of the meeting, on 20 December 2013, the President released a memorandum which stated that the maintenance of the current panel of Trial Chamber judges to hear Case 002/02 was in the “interests of justice” for reasons related to the expeditiousness of the proceedings (See http://tinyurl.com/lexqdfj). Building on his argument that the current panel of judges would hear the second phase of Case 002 in a more expeditious manner than a second panel of judges who would be less familiar with the case, the President issued a tentative work plan in December 2013. The work plan outlined the major stages, activities, and reports necessary for the second trial to begin (see http://tinyurl.com/mcdgwmn).
Pursuant to the work plan, the Parties were required to file submissions on the scope of Case 002/02 by 31 January 2014, which, according to the Supreme Court Chamber, is to include charges relating to S21, a worksite, a cooperative and genocide. The Office of Co-Prosecutors have submitted a range of specific crime sites to be included in Case 002/02, which is largely supported by the Civil Parties (see http://tinyurl.com/nql8rcn). However, in addition to requesting that a broader range of worksites and security centers be included in the scope, the Civil Parties also seek the inclusion of forced marriage and the treatment of Buddhists across the country (see the Civil Parties’ submissions at http://tinyurl.com/nmsjnbe).
The Nuon Chea Defense team requested that if the Trial Chamber did decide to limit Case 002/02 to specific crime sites, that those crimes sites include those which Nuon Chea is best placed to establish an affirmative defence. Nuon Chea’s Counsels contend that this would include those crime sites which relate to the alliance between the Northwest and East Zone forces against Pol Pot and Nuon Chea, and the relationship of these forces with the Vietnamese. A major concern of the Nuon Chea Defense is the scope of evidence permitted in Case 002/02, which they contend should be widened to include as prima facie admissible, evidence on any subject within the scope of the entire Closing Order of Case 002 (see http://tinyurl.com/muqpff7). The Khieu Samphan’s Defense team’s submission on scope has not been translated from French at the time of posting (see http://tinyurl.com/khmao87 ).
Additional issues raised by the Parties include the transfer of all evidence admitted in Case 002/01 to Case 002/02 (See http://tinyurl.com/ltk75su) and the reduction of the hearing schedule to accommodate the frail health of the Accused (See http://tinyurl.com/msz2r74).
ECCC Update, February 2014
The first two weeks of February saw the parties’ submission in preparation for the 11 February 2014 Trial Management Meeting, which dealt with a number of issues including proposed scope for Case 002/02. For coverage of the TMM meeting and legal background to the proceedings, read KRT Monitor’s article (http://tinyurl.com/jwsycgg). For decisions made by the Trial Chamber in December 2013 and January 2014, read KRT’s submissions update (http://tinyurl.com/n9ycros).
In terms of the decisions issued by the Trial Chamber in February 2014, the Trial Chamber has yet to provide further guidance as to the intended scope and starting date of Case 002/02. However, the Chamber did issue their decision regarding the Co-Accused’s fitness to stand trial (http://tinyurl.com/pmac3nt) on 17 February 2014. The Chamber conveyed its agreement with Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan Defense teams that it is necessary to reassess the fitness of both parties due to their age and frailty, and the lengthy period since the last assessment. However, it noted that in the future, parties must have adequate reasons and demonstrate the necessity for additional medical assessment
With this decision, the Chamber also officially appointed a number of experts to assess the health of the Accused pursuant to Internal Rules 31 and 32. These experts, namely Dr Seena Fazel, Dr Chan Kin Ming and psychiatrist Dr Huot Lina, will conduct medical assessment on the Co Accused on 24 and 25 March 2014. The Chamber also noted that it is important to wait for the medical assessment report before considering the sitting times for evidentiary proceedings of Case 002/02. A tentative hearing date of 28 March 2014 has been set to discuss the medical experts’ findings.
ECCC Update, March 2014
On 21 March 2014, the Trial Chamber President Nil Nonn responded to the Accused Khieu Samphan Defense team on their request asking for a delay the start of Case 002/02 given that the legal principles of res judicata and judicial certainty require a final Supreme Court Chamber judgment of Case 002/01. See the Trial Chamber’s decision here (http://tinyurl.com/n9obwg9). In the response, President Nil Nonn denied the request of the Defense team for a number of reasons, citing among others the fundamental interest of protecting civil party and victims and the Trial Chamber’s belief that the fair trial rights of the Accused are not being violated if proceedings start before the final decision. The President emphasized there is no valid legal reason for postponing Case 002/02 until after the Supreme Court Chamber has finally ruled on the appeals relating to case 002/01. For more background information on Nuon Chea’s team submission, see our report on the 11 February Trial Management Meeting here (http://tinyurl.com/jwsycgg).
ECCC Update, April 2014
April saw a few major updates concerning Court proceedings for Case 002/02 and beyond. Notably, on 4 April 2014, the Trial Chamber released their major decision related to the severance and scope of Case 002/02 – read their decision here (http://tinyurl.com/kk8q2zu). After receiving and considering the parties’ submissions for proposed severance and scope of Case 002/02, the Chamber found that additional severance of Case 002 is in the interest of the judiciary and it “does not impede unduly” on the rights of the Accused. Among the considerations guiding the Chamber’s decision was “different legitimate interests rooted in human rights and principles of efficiency,” as well as taking into account that severance is necessary to ensure at least part of the remaining charges are “adjudicated within the lifespan” of the Accused. The Trial Chamber decided on a number of crime sites and factual allegations they believe to be “reasonably representative” of the Closing Order. Read more specifics about this decision in KRT Monitor’s here (http://tinyurl.com/n3qlydb).
In an order dated 8 April 2014, the Trial Chamber requested Parties’ submit lists of proposed witnesses, documents and evidence, and uncontested facts, as well as a list of legal issues they intend to raise at the Initial Hearing. This hearing, the Trial Chamber announced, will happen no later than 9 June 2014. For more information on the Court’s decision, read the ECCC’s Public Affairs Section’s April Court Report issue here (http://tinyurl.com/p29g5r8).
On 24 April 2014, International Co-Prosecutor Mr. Nicholas Koumjian filed a Supplementary Submission for Case 004, requesting the Office of the Co-Investigating Judges (OCIJ) further investigate sexual or gender-based violence and forced marriage crimes committed during the Khmer Rouge period. Read Mr. Koumjian’s submission here (http://tinyurl.com/lpoufql ). One example of the alleged crimes committed includes a marriage ceremony where a group of up to 80 couples was forcibly married at one time. The submission also asked the OCIJ to investigate rape and sexual violence perpetrated by KR cadre, including instances when women were raped before being executed or when women who reported rapes during the Khmer Rouge period were subsequently executed. International Co-Prosecutor Mr. Koumjian further noted the courage of witnesses and Civil Party victims who have come forward to provide evidence of these crimes to ECCC investigators.
On 25 April 2014, Trial Chamber President Nil Nonn issued decisions on the fitness to stand trial of both Accused Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea. After considering the examinations of the Co-Accused by medical experts, the Trial Chamber found both capable of meaningful participation in their own defence and therefore labeled them fit to stand trial. For the Khieu Samphan decision, click here (http://tinyurl.com/mbw5moe). For the Nuon Chea decision, click here (http://tinyurl.com/n37mhm4).