The prosecution laid out its proposal for the scope and scheduling of the next phase of Case 002 yesterday, arguing that the selective inclusion of “representative” crime sites could make Case 002/02 the final chapter in the trial of the Khmer Rouge’s surviving senior leaders.
In the prosecution’s submission, the second sub-trial in Case 002 would comprise all of the remaining charges in the Case 002 indictment, while still saving time by leaving out redundant crime sites included under each charge.
“This is on the basis that the crime sites to be prosecuted, in conjunction with the charges and crime sites heard in Case 002/001, would be representative of the Indictment and would consequently allow the trial to be heard within a reasonable time,” lead co-prosecutor Nicholas Koumjian said in an email yesterday. “If a plan of this type is accepted, we have argued there would be no need for a Case 002/003.”
The plan would leave civil parties unaffected, he added, as their collective participation isn’t restricted to certain crime sites, and a streamlined schedule could see the trial completed in as few as 96 days of hearings.
Nuon Chea defender Victor Koppe seemingly acknowledged the need for expediency, asking parties to consider “whether the next trial will be, de facto, the last trial”, given his client’s advanced age. However, he added, leaving out certain crime sites may impede the defence’s ability to pursue its theories challenging the prosecution’s view of the case – namely that cadres in the east and northwest were responsible for the regime’s crimes.
“We don’t believe there was a national policy. We believe that there were two very strong factions fighting within the [Khmer Rouge],” Koppe said. “If we limit ourselves to the crime sites proposed by the prosecution, would that disallow us from investigating this alternative theory of the events between 1975 and 1979?”
While Koppe ultimately left the concrete list of crime sites up in air, preferring instead to get the trial going and hammer things out “while on the road”, Khieu Samphan defender Anta Guisse reiterated her staunch opposition to starting the new trial without a final judgement in Case 002/01.
Noting the lack of consensus and myriad issues raised, judge Jean-Marc Lavergne wondered if it might be quicker to wait for such a judgement.
“What I note from this exchange is that a certain number of decisions are going to have to be taken,” he said. “I understand that all of the parties do not share exactly the same idea of what should be included in a future trial, which would raise the question of whether it would be timely to begin the evidentiary hearings in [002/02] before [Case 002/01] is finally adjudicated.”