This week marked the opening of evidentiary hearings in the second trial of Case 002. This follows the initial hearing, which took place on 30 July 2014, and the Trial Chamber’s announcement of the Judgment in Case 002/01 on 7 August 2014. Victims, the co-Accused, and Court observers have awaited this trial for its focus on a wider scope of alleged crimes, including forced marriage, and charges that the Accused participated in acts of genocide against Cham Muslims and ethnic Vietnamese. The trial is also significant insofar as it is expected to cover a greater number of crime sites (cooperatives, work sites, and security centers across the country) than fell within the scope of Case 001 and Case 002/01.
However, on the trial’s long anticipated opening day, the prospect of further delays dominated discussion inside the courtroom and out, as Defense teams for both of the co-Accused announced their intent to boycott the trial. Counsel for the Accused are unhappy that the Trial Chamber elected to commence evidentiary hearings in Case 002/02 while the Prosecution and Defense are still in the process of filing appeals against the Judgment in Case 002/01 with the ECCC’s Supreme Court Chamber. Defense Counsel has further argued that the Trial Chamber judges ought to recuse themselves from proceedings while the Judicial Administration Committee decides on Defense motions for their disqualification from Case 002/02. In light of these announcements and objections, the Court delayed further evidentiary hearings, and scheduled a closed trial management meeting to take place on 21 October 2014.
Section II of this report summarizes three sets of documentary submissions filed prior to the start of evidentiary hearings in Case 002/02. Section III covers the opening statements of the Parties, in Court on 17 October 2014, as well as a subsequent press conference called by the Defense teams, to further explain the decision of the Accused to boycott the proceedings. Section IV covers trial attendance, time management, and matters of courtroom administration.
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KRT Trial Monitor No. 2 – Opening Statements (17 October 2014) corresponds with Facing Justice Episode 50.