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

  • Research key to Kanitha’s rep for expertise

    Sok Kanitha is used to weighing in on controversial issues using a confident approach that signals expertise and authority, and a recent video she made was no exception. Her “Episode 342: The History of NATO” video went live on January 16, 2023 and immediately shot to 30,000 likes and 3,500

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Knockout! Kun Khmer replaces ‘Muay’ for Phnom Penh Games

    Cambodia has decided to officially remove the word Muay from the programme of the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2023 in May. “Kun Khmer” will instead be used to represent the Southeast Asian sport of kickboxing, in accordance with the wishes of the Cambodian people. Vath

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • New int’l airport nearly half complete as travel industry returns to life

    Construction of a new airport that is slated to serve the capital has passed the 43 per cent completion mark, raising prospects for a proper recovery in the civil aviation and tourism sectors as international travellers return to the Kingdom in increasingly large numbers. The figure

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,