[JURIST] The UN-backed Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website] on Friday charged [press release] mid-ranking former Khmer Rouge [CTM backgrounder] cadre Ao An with crimes against humanity. The charges allege that An, 79, carried out crimes at an execution site and in two security centers during the Khmer Rouge’s rule in the 1970s. Before An can face trial the court’s senior judges must accept the charges. The tribunal added that An was being charged with murder under Cambodian law and crimes against humanity that include “murder, extermination, persecution on political and religious grounds, imprisonment, and other inhumane acts” committed in two prisons and at an execution site [AP report].
Earlier this week Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] called on the Cambodian government to act on criminal charges [JURIST report] brought against former Khmer Rouge leaders. Earlier this month the ECCC charged [JURIST report] district commander Im Chaem and former Khmer Rouge navy chief Meas Muth with homicide and crimes against humanity, despite a warning by the country’s prime minister Hun Sen not to add defendants. Cambodia’s UN-backed tribunal restarted genocide hearings in a separate case in January after a delay in which defense lawyers refused [JURIST reports] to participate. The Khmer Rouge [JURIST news archive] have been blamed for roughly 1.7 million deaths between 1975 and 1979 while leader Pol Pot [BBC profile] was in power.