Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Breaking: KRT tosses case against Im Chaem



Breaking: KRT tosses case against Im Chaem

Im Chaem, an alleged district secretary under the Khmer Rouge, is photographed at her residence in Oddar Meanchey in 2014.
Im Chaem, an alleged district secretary under the Khmer Rouge, is photographed at her residence in Oddar Meanchey in 2014. Charlotte Pert

Breaking: KRT tosses case against Im Chaem

The Khmer Rouge tribunal has thrown out one of its most contentious cases, that against former district leader Im Chaem.

The dismissal was issued early on Wednesday with the co-investigating judges finding “she was neither a senior leader nor otherwise one of the most responsible officials of the Khmer Rouge regime”, and therefore falls outside the jurisdiction of the hybrid tribunal.

“The dismissal also means that all civil party applications [by victims of the crimes committed by the regime] related to Im Chaem had to be rejected,” a statement from the court reads.

Chaem was allegedly secretary of Preah Netr Preah district in the North-West Zone under the Khmer Rouge regime and was charged in March 2015 with crimes against humanity including murder, extermination, enslavement, imprisonment and persecution on political grounds.

Her case, known as Case 004/01, has been dogged by political interference and divided Cambodian and international prosecutors as to whether it should proceed.

The government has long made known its position that the tribunal should conclude with current Case 002 against the Khmer Rouge’s most senior surviving leaders, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan.

Prime Minister Hun Sen himself has previously said if Case 004 – which also includes cadres Ao An and Yim Tith – and Case 003 – against alleged naval commander Meas Muth – went to trial, civil war could ensue, prompting experts to question whether the cases would fold under government pressure.

Citing logistical and budgetary constraints, a document listing the full reason for the dismissal will be filed “in due course”.

While a summary will be made public, “the reasons for this decision, as far as they relate to the substance of the charges themselves, and the decision on the civil party applications shall remain confidential unless the dismissal is overturned on appeal and a trial ordered by the Pre-Trial Chamber”.

Chaem’s lawyers, Wayne Jordash and Bit Seanglim, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

International prosecutor Nicholas Koumjian previously argued Chaem was “criminally responsible in that she was the superior of perpetrators, knew about the crimes and failed to take reasonable measures to prevent the crimes or punish those responsible”.

Reached this morning, Koumjian said he would withhold judgment on the decision until reading the legal reasons.

“I look forward to reading the recent decision and I will not comment further at the moment,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • 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,

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia to make auto-rickshaws

    Locally-assembled electric auto-rickshaws could hit the Cambodian market as soon as early in May after the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) gave the greenlight to an investment project at the weekend. According to a CDC press release, it will issue a final registration