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Call for judges at UN-backed tribunal to investigate more Khmer Rouge crimes

Call for judges at UN-backed tribunal to investigate more Khmer Rouge crimes

Co-prosecutors at the United Nations-backed tribunal trying Khmer Rouge leaders accused of mass killings and other crimes in Cambodia in the late 1970s have called for new investigations of possible crimes committed at a security and detention centre in the South-East Asian country during the notorious era.

In a formal submission to co-investigating judges on Wednesday, the co-prosecutors at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) in Phnom Penh, the capital, have requested a probe into allegations raised by civil society groups and victims.

The allegations relate to a security centre where numerous Cambodians were unlawfully detained, subjected to inhumane conditions and forced labour, tortured and executed between 1975 and 1979.

Co-prosecutor Robert Petit said that “these factual allegations, if founded, could constitute crimes against humanity, and violations of the 1956 Penal Code punishable under ECCC law and we have so alleged in our supplementary submission.”

The co-prosecutors have also requested that Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Thirith and Kaing Guek Eav – who are all currently in the custody of the ECCC – be investigated for their involvement in these crimes.

The supplementary submission was accompanied by about 1,500 pages of analytical reports, witness statements and other documents from the era.

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.