Former Khmer Rouge leader arrested by UN-backed tribunal in Cambodia

19 November 2007

The United Nations-backed tribunal in Cambodia trying Khmer Rouge leaders accused of mass killings and other crimes three decades ago announced today that a former head of State of the country has been arrested and brought before the court.

Khieu Samphan, who served as president of Democratic Kampuchea, as Cambodia was then known, between 1976 and 1979, was arrested after co-investigating judges at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) issued an arrest warrant.

The ECCC has not released any details of any charges against Mr. Samphan, who becomes the fifth person to be brought before the tribunal.

In a press release the court announced that its defence support section has assigned two lawyers to Mr. Samphan’s case while it assesses whether he can pay for his legal team for the next two years. They are Say Bory of the Cambodian Bar and Jacques Vergès, a French lawyer.

Under an agreement signed by the UN and Cambodia, the ECCC was set up as an independent court using a mixture of Cambodian staff and judges and foreign personnel. It is designated to try those deemed most responsible for crimes and serious violations of Cambodian and international law between 17 April 1975 and 6 January 1979, when up to three million people perished at the hands of the Khmer Rouge.

 

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