Cambodia. According to Countryaah, the tribunal set up jointly by the UN and Cambodia, which had the task of examining surviving leaders of the Red Khmer regime in 1975-79, was drawn with continuing problems: lack of financial support was one, cooperation problem was another. Of the three remaining persons charged, two, Khieu Samphan, 81, and Nuon Chea, 86, were taken to hospital for care in January, which further delayed the trials. In March, the third defendant, the former Foreign Minister Ieng Sary, died at the age of 87. In September 2012, a defendant, the former Minister of Social Affairs Ieng Thirith, had been deemed too ill to pass a trial. Only one person, prison chief Kang Kek Ieu, had in July 2012 received a conviction, life imprisonment, for crimes against humanity.
In May, Nuon Chea, chief ideologist and second-highest leader of the Red Khmer after Pol Pot, acknowledged for the first time his moral responsibility for the abuses committed by the Red Khmer. Nuon Chea expressed remorse to the survivors of the victims of the terror. Khieu Samphan, the president of the Red Khmer in 1976-79, also apologized, but added that during the period he was head of state he was not aware of the serious human rights violations committed. In June, a law was passed which made it punishable by up to two years in prison to deny or diminish the significance of the abuses and crimes against humanity committed by the Red Khmer under their power.
In July, parliamentary elections were held. Prior to the election, Prime Minister Hun Sen allowed opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who has lived in exile since 2009 after he was sentenced to prison, to return to Cambodia. However, Sam Rainsy was not allowed to stand in the election. Sam Rainsy’s party therefore joined forces with regime critic Kem Sokha’s Human Rights Party (HRP) in the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP). After the election, Hun Sens’s ruling party of the Cambodian People’s Party (CCP), which has held power since 1993, quickly became victorious, but it was met by street protests among oppositionists who believed that widespread electoral fraud had occurred.
When the Election Commission announced in September that CCP had won the 68-seat election, against 55 seats for the CNRP, new mass demonstrations erupted. Both independent election observers as well as the EU and the US questioned whether the election had been free and fair. With all the opposition members absent, the parliament, then made up of only CCP members, went through a new five-year term for Hun Sen and his government. The opposition then boycotted Parliament’s opening that same month.
In November, the International Court of Justice in The Hague granted Cambodia sovereignty over the lands around the Preah Vihear Temple that both Cambodia and Thailand claimed. In 1962, the court ruled that the temple itself belongs to Cambodia, but uncertainty prevailed over ownership of certain adjacent areas. In recent years, the conflict had escalated between the two neighboring countries and gained increasingly nationalist expression. Crowds of soldiers were deployed on both sides and gunfire across the border occurred at regular intervals. In November, the court ordered Thailand to withdraw all armed personnel, such as border guards, police and soldiers.
Settlement against Red Khmer
In the spring of 2006, Cambodia’s Supreme Court finally approved the judiciary in the tribunal against a few surviving Red Khmer leaders. It took almost ten years of negotiations, interrupted by complications and complications, before the UN and the Cambodian government reached agreement on the composition of 17 Cambodian and 13 international, UN-appointed judges. The Tribunal is officially called Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). This is a legal innovation as the UN and Cambodia are jointly responsible. The composition of both local and international lawyers is described as unique, especially because the locals are in the majority. The accused have both Cambodian and international defense attorneys.
After a lengthy and tortuous negotiation process, the tribunal is characterized by compromises between the UN and the Cambodian government, with several having a past in Red Khmer. Human rights groups put a lot of responsibility for dilatory public on Cambodia’s strongman, Prime Minister Hun Sen. As a former Red Khmer officer, later runner-up, he insisted for a long time that a settlement should take place. Several of today’s rulers should be concerned that the spotlight is on their relations with the Red Khmer. She Sen will be able to exert pressure on the Cambodian judges to prevent people close to him from being withdrawn, claims opposition leader Sam Rangsi. The UN, for its part, has emphasized that the process must not be characterized by politicized justice.
Judicial investigations began in 2007 with the interrogation of Kaing Guek Eav, known by his revolutionary nickname “Duch”. He was head of the notorious torture and interrogation center Tuol Sleng. Duch was long the only Red Khmer leader held in custody after General Ta Mok, also known as the “Butcher,” died in 2006. In September 2007, Nuon Chea was arrested and charged. As Red Khmer’s chief ideologist, he was for many years the top manager Pol Pot’s closest confidant. Inside the movement was known as “Brother # 2”. In November, the tribunal proceeded with an arrest warrant against Red Khmer Foreign Minister Ieng Sary and his wife Ieng Thirith. The latter was Pol Pot’s sister-in-law and Minister of Social Affairs in the Red Khmer government. The arrest was also Khieu Samphan, president of the “Democratic Kampuchea” (1976-1979) and for many years the face of the movement outward.
The five mentioned are the only ones charged. Several teams have demanded that more people be held accountable. However, no court settlement is planned against thousands of others who worked for the Red Khmer. Prime Minister Hun Sen has repeatedly rejected such demands. He does not want the settlement to go wide, even the court operates with a budget of over $ 100 million. In December 2008, the Cambodian Prosecutor’s Office put an end to attempts to extend the tribunal’s jurisdiction.
The process officially opened in February 2009 with the prison chief Duch in the address box. He admitted guilt, but stated in his defense that he acted on orders from above. Other litigation took place in 2011–2014. The charges include, among other things, genocide and crimes against humanity. It is estimated that 1.7 million Cambodians – almost a quarter of the population at that time – died as a result of massacres, illness and overwork during the Red Khmer Empire from 1975 to 1979.
Of the five defendants, three former top executives have been sentenced to life imprisonment – they cannot be sentenced to death. After four years in custody, Pol Pot’s sister-in-law, Ieng Thirith, was exempted from punishment for failing health. Her husband, Ieng Sary, died of heart failure before his sentencing was finalized.