Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ECCC urged to dismiss Ao An’s case

ECCC urged to dismiss Ao An’s case

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Defence lawyers for Ao An have called for Case 004/02 to be dismissed. DC-CAM

ECCC urged to dismiss Ao An’s case

Defense lawyers for Ao An have called for Case 004/02 to be dismissed after the Pre-Trial Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) could not reach an affirmative vote on bringing their client to trial for genocide.

An’s defence team issued a press release after the ECCC issued its decision last week on the parties’ appeals against two closing orders issued by the co-investigating judges. An’s defence team said the majority of judges had called for the case to be dismissed.

“Today, the majority [three] of the Pre-Trial Chamber judges accepted the defence’s argument that the case should be dismissed for a lack of personal jurisdiction.

“The majority of judges found that Ao An was not a senior leader or one of those most responsible for Khmer Rouge era crimes and so cannot be tried at the ECCC,” defence team said.

The ECCC on Thursday issued a press release saying that the International Co-Investigating Judge issued an indictment in August 2018 sending An to trial, while on the same day the National Co-Investigative Judge issued a dismissal order on all charges against him after a 10-year investigation.

“The Pre-Trial Chamber was faced with, for the first time in judicial history, two conflicting closing orders, emanating from one single judicial office,” the ECCC said.

It said the Pre-Trial Chamber had concluded that the Co-Investigating Judges’ simultaneous issuance of the two conflicting closing orders was illegal and in violation of the very foundation of the ECCC’s legal framework.

The defence team said sending the case for trial despite the majority of judges holding that the court lacked jurisdiction would be a gross violation of An’s presumption of innocence.

The uncertainty was a violation of his right to a fair trial, and an affront to the principle of legal certainty.

“The Pre-Trial Chamber’s decision demonstrates, once again, that the ECCC’s rules and procedures are not fit for purpose. Case 004/02 must be terminated with immediate effect,” the defence team said.

Civil party co-lawyer Hong Kimsuon said it was usual for lawyers to call for a case they were defending to be dismissed.

He said the case would continue despite the Pre-Trial Chamber not reaching an affirmative vote of at least four judges for a decision based on common reasoning on the merits.

“At the ECCC, there are five judges [two international and three national] in the pre-trial, trial and Supreme Court chambers, and it requires at least four voices to dismiss a case from going to trial,” Kimsuon said.


  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Preah Sihanouk hit with travel ban

    Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration has announced a temporary travel ban to and from the province, except for ambulances and trucks transporting goods. The announcement came after prime minister Hun Sen called on people in the province to travel only if necessary, and that people not

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • AstraZeneca jabs touch down in Phnom Penh airport

    The first shipment of 324,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/SII vaccine which was provided through the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility was delivered to Phnom Penh International Airport on March 2. The rest of the COVAX provided vaccines will arrive in Cambodia at a later date.

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said