THE Khmer Rouge tribunal is set to proceed with its historic second case, the court said yesterday, with judges having ruled on the defendants’ final pre-trial appeals.
The court’s investigating judges issued indictments in September against former Khmer Rouge Brother No 2 Nuon Chea, foreign minister Ieng Sary, head of state Khieu Samphan and social action minister Ieng Thirith. The quartet face a raft of charges including genocide, crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions.
Yesterday, the court said in a statement that the case had been cleared for trial despite challenges to the indictments by lawyers for the defendants, who represent the most senior surviving members of the Democratic Kampuchea regime.
“The Pre-Trial Chamber has ordered the Accused Persons to be sent for trial and to continue to be held in provisional detention until they are brought before the Trial Chamber,” the court said.
The court has said the trial will begin in “the first half of 2011”, but has yet to set a specific date.
“The Trial Chamber will decide the timeline when they have been seized of the case,” United Nations court spokesman Lars Olsen said. “The main thing now, of course, with this decision, is that now all things here at the court will be about preparing the trial.”
In ruling on the defendants’ final appeals, the Pre-Trial Chamber amended the indictment only slightly.
The PTC judges ordered that the alleged crimes against humanity in the indictment be specifically linked to an armed conflict taking place during the time they were allegedly committed.
They also ruled that the rape charges in the indictment did not exist in international law as crimes against humanity during the time they were allegedly committed, though they said this offence fell under the general category of “other inhumane acts” within the legal definition of crimes against humanity.