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Khieu Samphan
Khieu Samphan during a hearing at the ECCC in August 2011. ECCC

Tribunal sets date for verdict

Victims of the Khmer Rouge who have been waiting for justice since 1979 may only have to wait a few months more, with the court announcing yesterday that a verdict in the first subtrial of its flagship Case 002 will be read on August 7.

Case 002/01 – brought against former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan and the regime’s second-in-command, Nuon Chea – began in November 2011 and dealt primarily with the regime’s policy of emptying cities, particularly Phnom Penh after its fall in 1975, as well as the executions of officials from the preceding regime that immediately followed.

“If convictions are entered, decisions on sentencing and civil party reparation requests will also be delivered,” the court’s announcement states.

Panhavuth Long, a program officer for the Cambodia Justice Initiative, said yesterday that he had expected the verdict to come a bit sooner, but that nonetheless, the apparent delay was “alright,” and would give the court ample time to prepare.

“I think the court should also now reactivate and make more outreach programs, so that people can come hear the verdict and understand what the verdict means,” he said.

Evidence heard in Case 002/01 is expected to feature heavily in the upcoming subtrial, Case 002/02, which will deal with charges such as genocide and torture.

That upcoming subtrial could well be Case 002’s last, leaving the court with the thorny question of how to deal with the remaining government-opposed Cases 003 and 004.

A blog post from law firm Popper & Yatvin announced that US attorney Alan Yatvin was admitted to the Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia last Wednesday in advance of assuming the representation of a suspect in one of the two upcoming cases.

According to Popper & Yatvin’s website, Yatvin’s career spans some 30 years, with stints in US federal courts as well as at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

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