The AIJI monitoring program, a joint initiative of the East-West Center and the WSD HANDA Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Stanford University, has written and published “A Well-Reasoned Opinion? Critical Analysis of the First Case Against the Alleged Senior Leaders of the Khmer Rouge”, a final, comprehensive report on the trial of Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan in Case 002/01. This report — written by AIJI’s Dr. David Cohen, Melanie Hyde, and Penelope Van Tuyl, with the support of Stephanie Fung — builds on the work of many individuals who consistently monitored and reported on each day of trial proceedings and events prior to the trial’s commencement in 2011.
On 7 August 2014, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) reached an important institutional milestone when the Court published its long-awaited Trial Judgment in the first case against two of the surviving alleged senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge—Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan (“Case 002/01”). The Court found both men guilty of crimes against humanity, and sentenced them each to life imprisonment, while awarding “moral and collective reparations” to the 3,869 Civil Parties participating in the trial. Despite hopes that the five-year process of judicial investigation, trial, deliberation, and Judgment-drafting would produce a rigorous and insightful final product, in reality, as this report argues, the Case 002/01 Judgment fails to deliver the most fundamental output one expects from a criminal trial—systematic application of the elements of crimes to a well-documented body of factual findings. Based, in part, on insight gained from the continuous presence of a team of trial monitors throughout trial, this report provides commentary on how a contentious and confusing trial process in Case 002/01 ultimately produced a similarly problematic final Judgment.