The prosecution at the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday began presenting documents “of central importance” to proving co-accused Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan are prosecutable as a joint criminal enterprise.
Joint criminal enterprise prosecutions allow for all of the members of a group with a common plan – such as, the prosecution argues, Democratic Kampuchea’s uppermost leaders – to be held responsible for crimes committed by any individual member of that group.
Referring to the Communist Party of Kampuchea’s governing statute, co-prosecutor Dale Lysak made that the case that “party lines to eliminate enemies were a collective understanding”.
“All party leadership organisations must implement collective leadership,” he said, reading the statute aloud. “All of the various decisions of the party must be made collectively.” A Central Committee memo with the evocative heading “The Right to Smash Inside and Outside the Ranks” was even more specific, outlining the various bodies with the authority to eliminate perceived enemies found “burrowing” within the CPK’s various organs.
“[For enemies] Surrounding the Centre Office, [smashing is] to be decided by the Central Office Committee,” read Lysak, referring to a committee whose members included Samphan.
Documents read yesterday revealed that the Khmer Rouge was indeed obliged to deal with more unrest than is commonly acknowledged.
In one incident described in a report, a man was arrested after throwing a grenade into a rice paddy dike. In another, a group of 60 was detained for protesting the Khmer Rouge’s strict atheism and rice rationing with “a white banner with slogans including Long Live Buddhism”.