A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Prosecutors at Khmer Rouge tribunal request life sentences for former leaders

Prosecutors at Cambodia's Khmer Rouge [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] tribunal, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website], on Monday requested life imprisonment in the case [court materials] against two former leaders of the Khmer Rouge. The former leaders, Nuon Chea, also known as "Brother Number 2," and Khieu Samphan [case materials], the regime's head of state, are accused [AP report] of crimes against humanity, genocide and "grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949" [text], according to the 2010 indictment [text]. The Khmer Rouge regime lasted from 1975-1979 and resulted in the death of more than 2 million people. Last week the ECCC began hearing [JURIST report] closing arguments in the case .The UN-backed trial is scheduled to conclude by the end of October following closing arguments from defense lawyers. A verdict is expected in the beginning of 2014.

The ECCC, launched in 2006, has run into several controversies in its history. Last month the tribunal was forced to obtain a loan [JURIST report] to pay striking workers to cover unpaid salaries. The strike began [JURIST report] earlier that month. Also in September, the ECCC's international prosecutor announced his resignation [JURIST report] from the tribunal. In August approximately 100 tribunal staff members went on strike to protest the unpaid wages, while UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon [official website] urged [JURIST report] donors to provide financial support to keep the tribunal running. Tribunal employees reported to Human Rights Watch (HRW) [Advocacy website] that they are also bitter due to "government interference and corruption at the court" [JURIST op-ed], which has been a cause of concern since the trials began.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.