Facing Justice Episode 50, 17 Oct 2014-08 Jan 2015

‘Facing Justice’ has returned to Cambodian TV screens after a break of several weeks.

This is the 50th episode of a series of weekly TV reports about the proceedings in the second Khmer Rouge trial. It was first broadcast on CTN on Monday 19 January 2015.

A total of 16 new programs (episodes 38 – 53) have been sponsored by USAID (the US Agency for International Development) in a two-year project aimed at aiding National Reconciliation.

Episode 50 covers the start of the new part of the second trial – ‘Case 002/02’. Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, two leading members of the Khmer Rouge regime (in power from 1975 to 1979), are accused of a multitude of atrocious crimes. The charges are related to ‘Genocide’ – against Chams and Vietnamese; the treatment of Buddhists, ‘Forced Marriages and Rape’, ‘Internal Purges’ and the targeting of former Khmer Republic officials.

Episodes 38 to 46 covered the end of the first part of the second trial – Case 002/01: ‘Closing Statements’; the verdicts and sentences; legal and the public’s reactions to the outcome in this trial. The two leaders had been found guilty of Crimes Against Humanity including the forced evacuation of people from cities and the murder of officials and soldiers of the previous Lon Nol regime. They were given life sentences.

Episode 47 was the first of three ‘thematic’ programs on issues arising during proceedings. It covered the structure of the Khmer rouge hierarchy. Episode 48 covered the KR’s forced population evacuations of Cambodian cities. Episode 49 covered the details of reparations requested by Civil Parties and granted by the Court.

Later episodes will report on the issues involved, any appeals and their outcomes.

The trial, held under the auspices of the ECCC (Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia) is currently taking place in a courtroom just outside Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh.

The court is a hybrid tribunal which applies both International and Cambodian law to try the alleged crimes of the defendants – Nuon Chea (‘Brother Number Two’), Khieu Samphan (Head of State).

Ieng Thirith (Social Affairs Minister) was declared unfit to stand trial early in the proceedings. Ieng Sary (Foreign Minister) who was also facing charges died approximately two years ago.

‘Facing Justice’, shown on Cambodia’s top TV channel (CTN), presents a summary of the courtroom’s highlights. In addition, the show provides straightforward explanations to help its 85% rural audience understand the complex legal issues likely to arise as this important trial proceeds.

Partners in the project include Khmer Mekong Films (KMF), the Asian International Justice Initiative (AIJI), the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii and the WSD HANDA Center for Human Rights and International Justice, Stanford University.

The USAID programs will later be screened in villages across the country – used as outreach material to aid national reconciliation.

Previous sponsors of ‘Facing Justice’ were the US Department of State and the German Embassy, Phnom Penh.

Copyright East-West Center 2015

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