Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Second Case 004 suspect charged

Second Case 004 suspect charged

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Ao An, aka Ta An, is photographed during a 2011 interview. He was charged on Friday with crimes against humanity by the ECCC. PHOTO COURTESY DC-CAM

Second Case 004 suspect charged

Despite strong government opposition, the UN-backed Khmer Rouge trial yesterday charged another ex-Khmer Rouge official in Case 004, with former deputy Central Zone secretary Ao An, better known as Ta An, appearing in person at the court to face allegations of crimes against humanity and premeditated murder.

The charges, issued by International Co-Investigating Judge Mark Harmon without support from his national counterpart You Bunleng, come less than a month after Harmon charged former Democratic Kampuchea officials Im Chaem and Meas Muth in cases 004 and 003, respectively.

However unlike Muth and Chaem, who were charged in absentia after police apparently refused to arrest the pair, Ta An appeared at the tribunal to hear the charges related to purges and executions during the Democratic Kampuchea regime.

“He was summonsed, appeared before the judge and he was informed about the charges against him,” said Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia spokesman Lars Olsen.

“Now [his legal team] have the ability to ask for investigative actions on their behalf or they can challenge evidence.”

The charges – including premeditated homicide as a violation of the 1956 Cambodian Penal Code and crimes against humanity – cover crimes committed at Kok Pring execution site, Toul Beng security centre and Wat Au Trakuon security centre during the Democratic Kampuchea regime.

According to the ECCC statement, the crimes against humanity charge covers murder, extermination, persecution on political and religious grounds, imprisonment, and other inhumane acts.

Speaking to the Post in 2011, Ta An denied he was responsible for the killings and said he was not afraid to face the tribunal.

Initiated in 2009, cases 003 and 004 – which focus on mid-level cadres – have long been opposed by the government, with Prime Minister Hun Sen warning the country could slip into “civil war” if further charges were laid, an assertion disputed by observers.

According to a court spokesperson, Bunleng – who had not participated in the investigation – said yesterday that Harmon’s evidence “showed more doubt” as to whether the suspects named in the case fell within the court’s jurisdiction.

However, he added, he would “continue the discussion” and “work closely” with Harmon based on standard legal and procedural and “high professionalism”.

MOST VIEWED

  • With herd immunity likely in 2022, is Cambodia ready to reopen for tourism?

    The government aims to inoculate 80 per cent of the target population by June next year, giving it a head start among regional peers to reboot the sector but first, it has to do a few things to up its game A sign on a glass

  • Quarantine still a must for all arrivals, in next Covid chapter

    Since early May, an average of five to 10 Cambodian people have died from Covid-19 a day with many others testing positive amid the ongoing community outbreak. At the same time, however, hundreds of patients also recovered a day. The first Covid-19 case in Cambodia was

  • US wants 'full access' to Ream Naval Base

    On June 11, the US embassy's Defense Attaché Colonel Marcus M Ferrara visited Ream Nava Base in coordination with Cambodian officials following the recent approval of Prime minister Hun Sen to allay the concerns on Chinese military presence at the base as raised by US Deputy

  • Jab drive heading to 5 provinces

    The government is set to vaccinate more than 1.2 million people in five provinces after finishing with Phnom Penh and neighbouring Kandal in an ongoing campaign administered by the ministries of Health and National Defence. The five provinces are Preah Sihanouk, Kampong Speu, Takeo, Kampong Cham

  • New immigration bill targets illegal foreigners in Kingdom

    General Department of Immigration (GDI) officials are discussing revisions to the new draft law on immigration to prevent foreigners from entering Cambodia illegally and to supervise those living in the Kingdom more effectively. The revisions draw wide support among civil society organisations. GDI director-general Kirth

  • First commercial gold mine online

    Australian miner Renaissance Minerals (Cambodia) Ltd on June 21 began the commercial operation of its $120 million Okvau Gold Project in the northeastern province of Mondulkiri, becoming the Kingdom’s first gold producer. Located in the Okvau area in southwestern Mondulkiri province’s Keo Seima district, the