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No separate charge of rape for Khmer Rouge tribunal defendants

Audience members follow proceedings at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia during Case 002/02 against Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan earlier this month. ECCC
Audience members follow proceedings at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia during Case 002/02 against Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan earlier this month. ECCC

No separate charge of rape for Khmer Rouge tribunal defendants

The Khmer Rouge tribunal trial chamber has upheld a decision that rapes that occurred at three security centres will not be reclassified at crimes in their own right, according to a document made public late last week.

The decision – which referred to the chamber’s prior stance that there is “no legal basis” to charge former leaders Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea with rape outside the context of forced marriage – was delivered in response to an application from the lead co-lawyers for civil parties to clarify the scope of Case 002/02.

Lawyer Marie Guiraud said this clarification was necessary, as a court filing by the prosecution said the accused were not charged with rape. Her team believes the pair were charged with rape at the pre-trial stage in 2009 and indicted with rape in the 2010 Closing Order.

“It is our understanding that Case 002/02 encompasses factual allegations that could amount to rape, mainly in Tram Kok cooperative, S-21 and Kraing Ta Chan security centers,” she said via email, referring to centres named in the Closing Order.

In their decision, the trial chamber said: “The Closing Order concluded that rape outside the context of forced marriage could not be considered as ‘one of the crimes used by the CPK [Communist Party of Kampuchea] leaders to implement the common purpose’.”

The Chamber claimed if the request was granted, it “would have the effect of adding new charges”, and declined to recharacterise the factual allegations of rape at the security centres as crimes; however, Giraud stressed her request was for clarification, not for the “recharacterisation of the facts”.

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