The UN-backed Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website] on Monday ruled that Ieng Sary [ECCC profile], former deputy foreign minister of the Khmer Rouge regime [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] is not protected from genocide charges by a 15-year-old royal pardon and amnesty. The court ruled [AFP report] that his amnesty does not apply to the crimes of genocide, torture or breach of the Geneva Convention of 1949 [text]. Sary served as a foreign minister for the regime between 1975 and 1979. In May, a panel in the ECCC denied a motion for pretrial release [JURIST report] by Ieng Sary.
In September, the court ordered [JURIST report] the trials of Ieng Sary and three other alleged Khmer Rouge leaders be split into a series of smaller trials [order, PDF]. The ECCC said that the separation of trials will allow the tribunal to deliberate more quickly [press release] in the case [materials] against the four elderly defendants. The first trial will focus on the beginning two phases of population movement and allegations of crimes against humanity, including murder, persecution not on religious grounds and forced disappearances associated with the first phases of population movement. Subsequent trials will focus on the third phase of population movement, genocide, persecution based on religious grounds and violation of the Geneva Conventions.