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Tribunal Glossary

Tribunal Glossary

What follows is a glossary of key people and terms related to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. It is by no means an exhaustive list, and I plan to expand and update it as the legal process moves forward. If, in reading the glossary, you have suggested additions, please let me know. The information was gathered from a number of different sources, including The Khmer Rouge Tribunal, Seven Candidates for Prosecution: Accountability for the Crimes of the Khmer Rouge (Heder & Tittemore) and the ECCC website. While this glossary is alphabetical, keep in mind that Cambodian names generally follow the format "family name, given name" as opposed to the English standard "given name, family name."

Chea Leang: The Cambodian Co-Prosecutor for the tribunal. She received her legal education in Germany and began her career at the Ministry of Justice. In 2002 she joined the Cambodian Judiciary as a prosecutor in the appeals court. She has received additional training in Denmark, Japan and The Hague. For more information on the role of the Co-Prosecutors, see "Pre-Trial and Investigation Phase."

Chhit Choeun: "Ta Mok," top military commander during the period of Democratic Kampuchea. He played a lead role in implementing execution policies, according to Heder and Tittemore. Ta Mok lost the lower part of one leg during fighting in 1970. He remained powerful after fall of Democratic Kampuchea and, after a split in the party in 1997, arrested Pol Pot and sentenced him to house arrest. Ta Mok was captured by government troops in 1999, but died in custody in 2006.

Civil Party:
A victim of the Khmer Rouge regime who has applied to become a full party to criminal proceedings at the tribunal.

The Communist Party of Kampuchea, colloquially referred to as the "Khmer Rouge."
Democratic Kampuchea: The official name of Cambodia during the years of Khmer Rouge governance (1975-1979).

Democratic Kampuchea:
The official name of Cambodia during the years of Khmer Rouge governance (1975-1979).

Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia for the Prosecution of Crimes Committed during the Period of Democratic Kampuchea. Colloquially referred to as the "Khmer Rouge Tribunal." The outcome of years of negotiation between the United Nations and Cambodian Government, the hybrid court is charged with prosecuting senior leaders and "those most responsible" for atrocities committed from 1975-1979.

Ieng Sary: Deputy Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs during the period of Democratic Kampuchea. Sary was born in Southwestern Vietnam near the Cambodian border, perhaps in 1930 (the year is disputed). He studied at the Lycee Sisowath and in Paris. During his time in France, Sary and Pol Pot socialized with French communist intellectuals. Though he was sentenced to death in absentia by the Vietnamese-backed People's Revolutionary Tribunal in 1979, Sary was granted a pardon by King Sihanouk in 1996. He was arrested Nov. 12, 2007 for war crimes and crimes against humanity. He has been hospitalized while in detention. According to Heder and Tittemore, evidence shows Sary was responsible for repeatedly and publicly encouraging arrests and executions in his Foreign Ministry and throughout DK.

Ieng Thirith: Social Affairs Minister and head of the Red Cross Society during the period of Democratic Kampuchea. She was born in 1932 in Battambang and attended the Lycee Sisowath in Phnom Penh. Thirith studied English and literature at the Sorbonne and married Ieng Sary in France. Her sister, Khieu Ponnary, was married to Pol Pot. She and Ieng Sary lived until recently in a Phnom Penh villa on St. 21. She was arrested Nov. 12, 2007 for crimes against humanity.

Jarvis, Helen: As of June 2009, Jarvis has served as Head of the Victims Unit. Previously, she was a spokesperson for the ECCC. She is also a co-author of Getting Away with Genocide? Elusive Justice and the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

Joint Criminal Enterprise:
A mode of liability that exists when two or more people participate in a common criminal endeavor, sharing a common criminal purpose. It was first defined at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Co-Prosecutors at the ECCC wanted the charge added to the indictment against "Comrade Duch," but judges at the tribunal rejected the request.

Kaing Guek Eav: "Comrade Duch," head of S-21 detention center. He was born in Kampong Thom in 1942. Duch oversaw the torture and purges of thousands of suspected Khmer Rouge "enemies" at S-21. In the mid-1990s, he converted to Christianity and became a lay pastor. When he was discovered by photojournalist Nic Dunlop in 1999, Duch agreed to be interviewed by journalist Nate Thayer for an article in the Far Eastern Economic Review. After that, he surrendered to Cambodian government authorities. On July 31, 2007 he was formally charged with crimes against humanity. Duch has talked openly about his - and others' - roles in the mass killings of Democratic Kampuchea. He is expected to be the first defendant to face trial in 2009.

Kar Savuth:
Defense attorney for "Comrade Duch." Kar has practiced criminal law since 1982 and was one of the first lawyers to be admitted to the Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Khieu Samphan: Head of State for Democratic Kampuchea. He was born in 1931 and studied politics and economics in France. Samphan purportedly suffered a stroke Nov. 13, 2007 - the day after Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith were brought into tribunal custody - and was arrested after being released from the hospital. He is charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity and has been taken to the hospital several times while in detention. According to Heder and Tittemore, evidence suggests that Samphan was aware of - and sometimes encouraged - policies of arresting, torturing and executing purported enemy agents. Samphan's foreign attorney is "Devil's Advocate" Jacques Verges.

Lemonde, Marcel: The foreign Co-Investigating Judge for the tribunal. Lemonde entered the French Judiciary in 1976. Since 2005, he has been president of a chamber in the court of appeals in Paris. He was president of the French Association of Investigating Judges from 1984 to 1987. For more information on the role of the Co-Investigating Judges, see "Pre-Trial and Investigation Phase."

Nuon Chea: "Brother Number Two," deputy secretary of the Communist Part of Kampuchea (CPK) central committee. He was born in Battambang in 1926 and attended university in Bangkok. In 1998 he surrendered to the Cambodian government with remaining Khmer Rouge forces and until recently lived with his wife in Pailin.

Nuon Chea was arrested there Sept. 19, 2007 and charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity.

According to Heder and Tittemore, Nuon Chea played a lead role in devising the CPK's execution policies and, perhaps, in implementing them. He was ultimately responsible for S-21, the Tuol Sleng torture and detention center.

The Open Society Justice Initiative is a program of the George Soros-founded Open Society Institute that promotes legal reform activities. OSJI has repeatedly called for increased transparency at the court and investigation of kickback allegations.

People's Revolutionary Tribunal:
Generally considered a "show trial," this five-day special tribunal was held in 1979 after the overthrow of the Khmer Rouge government. Pol Pot and Ieng Sary were both tried for the crime of Genocide and sentenced to death in absentia.

Petit, Robert: Formerly the foreign Co-Prosecutor for the tribunal, Petit resigned from his post in September 2009. William Smith, one of Petit's deputies, took over his position at that time. Petit, a Canadian, was a Crown Prosecutor in Montreal for eight years and served as a lawyer in the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. He has also been involved with the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo, the UN Mission of Support to East Timor and the Special Court for Sierra Leone. For more information on the role of the Co-Prosecutors, see "Pre-Trial and Investigation Phase."

Pre-Trial and Investigation Phase:
During this phase of the legal process, prosecutors and investigating judges gather evidence on a criminal case, while defense attorneys challenge incriminating evidence. Much of this work is not available to the public.
For those unfamiliar with the civil law system, the relationship between Co-Investigating Judges and Co-Prosecutors may be somewhat difficult to understand. I think the following passage, written by lawyer Katrina Anderson, helps clarify their respective roles during the investigation phase of proceedings:
"In the investigation stage, the prosecutors will first gather evidence on the commission of a crime. If there is sufficient evidence that a felony has been committed, the prosecutors will request the opening of a judicial investigation on an "investigative request form," hand over the file, and inform the Investigating Judges about the nature of the alleged crime and suspects. During the judicial investigation, more evidence is gathered for use in the upcoming trial. Once the investigation is complete, the case will be sent back to the prosecutors who will prepare an indictment called an "order of final conclusion. " The prosecutors will deliver the indictment to the investigative judges, and if those judges consider that the facts constitute a felony and that the evidence sufficiently substantiates the charge against the accused, they will issue an order to put the case before the trial chamber" (Mechanics of the Tribunal: The Rules of Evidence and Procedure).

Reach Sambath:
Chief of Public Affairs for the ECCC. He has worked as a journalist and also as a journalism instructor at the Royal University of Phnom Penh.

Rogers, Richard:
Head of the Defense Support Section at the tribunal. He has served as a legal officer at war crimes tribunals in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.

Rosandhaug, Knut: Deputy Director of Administration at the tribunal. Rosandhaug replaced former deputy director Michelle Lee June 1, 2008. Before coming to Cambodia, he served four years as director of the UN Mission in Kosovo. He has said he will remain at the ECCC "until the very end."

Roux, Francois: Defense attorney for "Comrade Duch." Roux previously defended four cases of genocide at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, obtaining one "not guilty" verdict. He was also a member of the defense team for Zacarias Moussaoui, implicated in the September 11th attacks in New York.

Sa Sovan: Defense attorney for Khieu Samphan. Educated in France, Sa says he lost around 50 family members to the Khmer Rouge. He replaced national co-lawyer Say Bory, who resigned from his post in June 2008 because of health problems.

Saloth Sar: Pol Pot, "Brother Number One," Prime Minister of Democratic Kampuchea. Saloth Sar was born in 1925 in Kampong Thom province. He attended the Lycee Sisowath in Phnom Penh and went on to study radioelectricity in Paris. There, he repeatedly failed his final exams before returning to Cambodia.

He died before facing the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. After a split among remaining Khmer Rouge forces in 1997, Pol Pot was arrested by military commander Ta Mok and sentenced to house arrest in a subsequent show trial. Under siege by government forces in 1998, Ta Mok fled into the jungle, taking Pol Pot with him. Pol Pot died days later, reportedly of a heart attack.

Sean Visoth: Director of Administration at the tribunal. Sean previously held a number of senior government posts. He has repeatedly denied allegations of graft at the tribunal and has promised to resign if found to be involved in any corruption.

Studzinksy, Silke: One of the lawyers representing civil parties at the ECCC. Studzinsky has worked to highlight sexual crimes committed by the Khmer Rouge.

Trial Phase:
This part of the legal process comes after the "Pre-Trial and Investigation Phase." During the trials, all parties present their cases to a panel of five judges, who determine a defendant's guilt or innocence and issue a sentence. Defendants may later appeal these decisions. Most of the trial process is open to the public.

Tuol Sleng:
A former high school in Phnom Penh converted into a torture and detention center by the Khmer Rouge. (Also known as Security Center 21, or S-21). Although a network of detention centers existed throughout the country, Tuol Sleng became the most infamous. Around 17,000 people were imprisoned at the facility and nearly all were exterminated. Oftentimes, detainees were executed at nearby Choeung Ek (the most notorious of the "Killing Fields").

Verges, Jacques: Defense attorney for Khieu Samphan. Verges is one of the tribunal's most infamous lawyers. Known as "The Devil's advocate," the 83-year-old Frenchman has spent his career defending a notorious roster of clients, including Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie and terrorist "Carlos the Jackal." He and Samphan say that they became friends when the DK head of state was a student in Paris.

You Bunleng: The Cambodian Co-Investigating Judge for the tribunal. Bunleng has been a judge in Cambodia's appeals court and was appointed president of the appeals court in 2007. He previously worked at the Ministry of Justice for 11 years. For more information on the role of the Co-Investigating Judges, see "Pre-Trial and Investigation Phase."


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