In a flurry of documents posted over the past few days, teams at the Khmer Rouge tribunal have outlined their thoughts on the future of the court’s flagship trial, Case 002, a subject that will be the focus of a trial-management meeting that starts today.
The court’s Supreme Court Chamber (SCC) has already said that the case’s second sub-trial – Case 002/02 – must include, “at minimum”, charges relating to the prison centre S-21, a forced worksite, a cooperative and genocide. It has also urged the court’s lower chamber to create a second panel of judges and commence proceedings in Case 002/02 while it’s still deliberating on the verdict in 002/01 – a stance that is likely to prove controversial at today’s meeting.
In a detailed filing, the prosecution laid out its proposed roadmap for Case 002/02, listing a “representative” number of crime sites – including high-profile ones left out of Case 002/01, such as the killings of ethnic Cham and Vietnamese, forced marriages and the persecution of religious groups.
“Taking into consideration the additional witnesses, civil parties and experts that would be proposed by the Accused and Lead Co-Lawyers, a trial of the crime sites proposed by the Co-Prosecutors could thus be completed by mid-2015,” the filing reads.
The filing also argues that hearings should “begin by late February 2014”, and skip opening arguments, but that the new case should be presided over by the same panel of judges that heard Case 002/01.
The Nuon Chea defence, on the other hand, said in an email regarding today’s meeting that it favoured the creation of a new panel of judges, but left open the question of when the new trial should start.
It also said that possible cuts to funding provided to defence teams to pay for things like supporting lawyers and experts “would negatively impact” the team’s work.
Court legal communications officer Lars Olsen said yesterday that funding to defence teams would be allocated “based on the activity level in Case 002/02”.
If proceedings in Case 002/02 begin while judges are still drafting the verdict in 002/01, he continued, funding would remain unchanged.
The Khieu Samphan defence, however, made it clear in its own email that it was staunchly opposed to commencing Case 002/02 before a verdict is delivered in the first case, and also called into question the potential changes to defence teams’ budgets.
“We are already understaffed, so if we are [even more] understaffed, it would not only affect the equality of the sides.… it would not even be possible to keep working,” Samphan defender Anta Guisse said.