[JURIST] The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website] on Wednesday issued its first genocide charges against two former Khmer Rouge [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] leaders. Former deputy leader and chief ideologist Nuon Chea and foreign minister Ieng Sary [Trial Watch profiles] were charged with genocide in connection with crimes allegedly committed against Vietnamese people and ethnic Cham Muslims. The charges, issued by co-investigating judges in Case 002 [case materials], have been brought by victims of the regime who participate as civil parties [ECCC backgrounder] in the official criminal proceedings. Both defendants have already been charged with breaches of the Geneva Convention [ICRC backgrounder] and crimes against humanity.
Earlier this month, the ECCC rejected [JURIST report] a request by Ieng Sary's lawyers to examine two international judges for bias. Last month, the court heard final arguments [JURIST report] in its first trial, that of Kaing Guek Eav [TrialWatch profile; JURIST news archive]. Kaing was the first of eight [JURIST report] ex-Khmer Rouge officials expected to be tried before the ECCC. A verdict is expected in March.