New suspects on the horizon?

New suspects on the horizon?

There has been a good deal of buzz lately that Co-Prosecutors at the ECCC are close to deciding whether they will pursue additional suspects. The number of former Khmers Rouge who will go before the tribunal has long been a point of contention and speculation, and critics of the court argue that the scope of prosecutions has been artificially constrained by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Suspects in addition to the five already in custody have been identified (though not publicly). However, international and Cambodian Co-Prosecutors have reportedly been unable to decide whether to pursue charges against them.

According to a recent story posted by the Inter Press Service, between two to six additional suspects are under consideration. But pursuing new prosecutions could be tricky.

For example, Sou Met and Meah Muth, high-ranking Khmer Rouge military officials mentioned in Stephen Heder's Seven Candidates for Prosecution, went on to hold senior positions in the current Cambodian army, according to the IPS article.

Moreover, "one problem with including these two as prime suspects is that it extends the scope considerably beyond the highest bodies of the Centre, raising the question of how many others held equal rank and would therefore logically be included as prime suspects," Helen Jarvis and Tom Fawthrop write in Getting away with Genocide? Elusive Justice and the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

Still, to demonstrate the court's independence from Cambodian political influence and to more accurately reflect the country's history, Co-Prosecutors should name additional suspects, Beth Van Schaack writes in her commentary Who's Next?

"Were the Extraordinary Chambers to limit their consideration to these five suspects, they would paint an inaccurate and stilted picture of the way in which crimes were committed under the Khmer Rouge," she writes. "... academic research suggests that Khmer Rouge cadre were given considerable discretion to implement the sometime cryptic directives emanating from the Standing Committee."

While I don't know how close Co-Prosecutors truly are to deciding about additional suspects, I will post as soon as I have any information.

 

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