Judges In Conflict as Cambodia’s War Crime Trials Continue

The trial of three former leaders of the Khmer Rouge is currently underway before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Criminal Courts of Cambodia. Nuon Chea, known as the chief ideologue of the regime, told the court, ‘I don’t want the next generation to misunderstand history. I don’t want them to believe the Khmer Rouge are bad people, are criminals. These war crimes and crimes against humanity were not committed by the Cambodian people. It was the Vietnamese who killed Cambodians.’

Video of the questioning of Nuon Chea can be found here.

A fourth defendant, Ieng Thirith, was previously found unfit to stand trial, although the outcome of an appeal is due next week. The deadline for the decision has been extended due to the ‘unprecedented’ nature of the matter.

The three currently on trial have been charged with war crimes including genocide and crimes against humanity, but judges have said sexual violence will not be counted specifically among these crimes. Family members of sexual assault victims say they want to have their voices heard by the tribunal.

In related news, the trial has been plagued by allegations of corruption and interference. A replacement judge, Laurent Kasper-Ansermet, recently arrived in Cambodia to work on cases 3 and 4, only to release a statement that was quickly contradicted by Cambodian Judge You Bunleng. Radio Australia explores the situation in more detail here.

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