Civil party lawyers expressed alarm yesterday that sites of alleged atrocities against Khmer Krom were left out of a statement by the Khmer Rouge tribunal’s co-investigating judges that named crime sites connected to the court’s controversial fourth case.
“Khmer Krom survivors fear that history may repeat itself. That they may be excluded yet again, even though cases 003 and 004 purports to relate to the very provinces and offences that concerns them,” a statement from a team of lawyers led by Mahdev Mohan, of Access to Justice Asia LLP, said yesterday.
In June, international co-prosecutor Andrew Cayley filed a supplementary submission in Case 004 asking the co-investigating judges to examine alleged crimes committed against the Khmer Krom in Takeo and Pursat provinces.
A list of 30 crime sites connected to Case 004 released by the co-investigating judges on Monday did not include Bakan district, located in Pursat province, where hundreds of Khmer Krom were allegedly slaughtered after the arrival of Khmer Rouge cadres from Ta Mok’s Southwest Zone in 1977.
The judges suggested in their statement on Monday that the sites of alleged crimes against the Khmer Krom were not yet subject to investigation in Case 004. “In case the investigations are extended to other crime sites the public will be notified separately in due time,” they said. The judges have closed their Case 003 investigation.
On Friday, Cayley issued a statement saying he had requested the judges to release information allowing victims to apply as civil parties in Case 004. Dale Lysak, assistant prosecutor in Cayley’s office, said yesterday that Cayley’s request included the sites of alleged crimes against the Khmer Krom, and the international prosecution team hoped for “quick action” from the judges on the issue.
The judges said in their statement that there were “serious doubts” as to whether the suspects in Case 004, a trio of mid-level Khmer Rouge cadres, fall within the court’s jurisdiction, fuelling concern that they will dismiss the case amid public opposition to it from the Cambodian government.