Sunday, May 22, 2011

CRUEL AND IRONIC TWISTS OF FATE AND A SETBACK FOR The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC)

Jeffrey S. Brand



It may have taken only 13 days to dismantle decades of work to hold accountable those responsible for the crimes of the Khmer Rouge. From April 29 to May 11, 2011, an order from the ECCC and dueling press releases from ECCC International Co-Prosecutor Andrew Cayley and National Co-Prosecutor Chea Lang, punctuated by the tragic death of ECCC Chief of Public Affairs Reach Sambath, brought into sharp focus the inherent contradictions of a tribunal process that had managed to achieve significant successes despite its flaws. Now, in a cruel twist of fate, the prospect of making further progress on that difficult road may have dimmed significantly.

On April 29, 2011 the Co-Investigating Judges – You Bunleng of Cambodia and Siegfried Blunk of Germany – shut down their investigation of Cases 003 and 004 amid charges that the prosecutors had cursorily interviewed witnesses, made perfunctory visits to crime scenes, conducted a “sham desk study” and caved to political pressure. . On May 10, Mr. Cayley, issued a press release that appeared to buttress some of those charges, stating that evidence of additional grave crimes likely existed and demanding additional investigation of crime scenes and interviewing of witnesses. The Cambodian co-prosecutor, Chea Lang, issued a response within 24 hours (and without advance notice to the international co-prosecutor) supporting the judges’ conclusion that any further investigation would exceed the intended scope of the tribunal to only prosecute “senior leaders” and those “most responsible”. The following day, Reach Sambath suddenly died from a massive stroke. Some observers commented that pressures from the court may have contributed to the death of the highly respected, Columbia University School of Journalism graduate and former reporter.



The consequences of this sad chain of events may be all too evident. Indeed, the attitude of the Cambodian co-prosecutor in combination with the attitude of the judges bodes ill for the future of the tribunal. The structure of the tribunal is complex and the result of political compromises along the way. Inherent in that compromise is a decision-making process that is likely to thwart any further proceedings in Cases 003 and 004 or, perhaps, any other cases at all.



To be sure, there is the right of potential civil parties – a term of art within the ECCC process – to apply to become parties to the proceedings. But, they must do so within 15 days of the date on which the co-prosecutors were notified of the co-investigating judges’ order, in this case May 18. Even if that date had not come and gone, the limited time to make application, the minimal information made public about the facts of Cases 003 and 004, and the difficulty of disseminating information in Cambodia in the best of circumstances, would have made the time frame too short to yield a significant response. Add to that the fact that the co-investigating judges are given broad discretion to determine whether civil parties may intervene, and the result of any such application is likely pre-ordained by the judges’ April 29 order. Moreover, the right of appeal to the Pre-Trial Chamber is not likely to alter the result in light of the broad discretion that the Chamber gives to the judges’ orders.



Alarmingly, the events of the past month are well on their way to yielding the most bizarre result yet. On May 18 (ironically the same date that the time for victims to intervene expired), a subsequent order from the co-investigating judges confirmed speculation in the Cambodian press that contempt actions might be brought against the international co-prosecutor based on his continuing requests to investigate Cases 003 and 004. In its May 18 order, the judges concluded that Co-International Prosecutor Cayley’s statements “violated [the ECCC’s] Rule of Confidentiality” and “lacked legal basis”. The judges ordered Cayley “to retract the parts of the statement” that violated the rules. Can a contempt order be far behind? Should that come to pass, the unthinkable would have happened: a tribunal that was set up to hold accountable those responsible for the horrific crimes of the Khmer Rouge will have turned the proceedings against the co-prosecutor seeking to investigate the crimes. Could there be a more unimaginable and depressing result?



The tangled maze of ECCC process is little known to those not familiar with the history of the tribunal or its progress to date. Ultimately, however, the world beyond Cambodia’s borders may need to understand only one fact: the voices of the victims may be forever silenced and the effort, belated as it may be, to hold responsible those accountable may be forever foreclosed by the judges’ ruling. The conviction of Duch and whatever may come to pass in Case 002 being the sole concrete results of the ECCC effort; important results to be sure, but results that fall far short of what might have been. The International Co-Prosecutor, Mr. Cayley understood this bleak reality in his press release when he noted that he would “request the deadline be extended”, but also reminded potential civil parties that under the law “the deadline for Civil Party applications now falls on Wednesday, 18 May 2011 at 4 p.m.”



Only we lawyers can reduce the victims of the Khmer Rouge crimes to its minimalist clinical definition which Andrew Cayley recites, as he must, in his press release: “a natural person or legal entity that has suffered physical, material or psychological injury as a direct consequence of at least one of the alleged crimes.” How many victims fall into that category we may never know given the legal bind that those who suffered at the hands of the Khmer Rouge now find themselves: Unaware of deadlines to plead for further investigation that would likely have uncovered the very victims the tribunal was established to redress. Only a cynic would support such an unseemly result or claim it consistent with the spirit in which the tribunal was established. The victims of the events of the past several weeks go far beyond those defined in the ECCC statute and include all who support the rule of law and believe that holding those accountable for mass human rights violations is the surest path to establishing it.



Which brings us to Reach Sambath’s sad, untimely death. It is a cruel metaphor and ironic twist of fate for what has gone on these past weeks at the Court. By all accounts, Reach Sambath was a courageous voice seeking to educate and inform. The week before his death, however, the Court acted in a way to silence the voices of the international co-prosecutor and the victims. At the same time, the most important public voice on the Court – Reach Sambath – is now silent as well. How sad for us all.





Jeffrey S. Brand is Dean and Professor of Law at the University of San Francisco School of Law and Chair of the law school’s Center for Law and Global Justice. He has worked extensively in Cambodia since 1994.
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18 May 2011
STATEMENT FROM THE CO-INVESTIGATING JUDGES

The Co-Investigating Judges of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) have noted the press release entitled “Statement by the International Co-Prosecutor Regarding Case File 003” (the Statement) dated 09 May 2011.

The Statement contained, among other things, information about crimes that according to the opinion of the International Co-Prosecutor required to be judicially investigated, thereby mentioning in detail as part of Case 003 alleged crimes, crime bases and criminal scenarios. Furthermore, the Statement also contained information about intended future actions by the International Co-Prosecutor related to the investigative process.

The International Co-Prosecutor lacked legal basis for making the above mentioned information public, and he also violated the Rule of Confidentiality. For these reasons, the Co-Investigating Judges have issued a reasoned Order whereby the International Co-Prosecutor has been ordered to retract the parts of the Statement containing this information within three working days.

The Order can be read in its entirety on the ECCC web site:
http://www.eccc.gov.kh/sites/default/files/documents/courtdoc/D14_EN.PDF

REACH SAMBATH -- HERO IN MY HEART by Ker Munthit

This week, many of us, Cambodians and foreigners alike, find ourselves having a big lump in our throats as we come together to mourn the death of our dearest friend: Reach Sambath. His passing breaks our hearts and leaves us asking: is it real? We have just lost a rare breed of journalist in Cambodia, a professional journalism trainer, a very close friend and a dedicated pursuer of justice in the Khmer Rouge crimes.

I happened to know Sambath in 1992. Cambodia was still pretty much in turmoil. We both were apprentices of journalism, constantly chasing stories - big, small and odd - and trying to get the "scoop." Sambath often scooped everyone else, including me. As time went by so our friendship grew stronger, both professionally and personally. I wish I could recount all the memories that we shared in our career, but because of how difficult it is to write this recollection, let me just share some of them.

In late March or early April 1994, when the government's troops captured Pailin from the Khmer Rouge, Sambath and I joined a bunch of journalists and foreign military attaché in trekking through the jungle (very dense then) from Battambang province to Pailin. We wanted to witness the victory with our own eyes and to report on it for our respective organizations. It was late in the afternoon and raining. Pailin was nowhere in sight. We were wet and cold. As we stopped to camp out for the night, I tried to open a sardine can to eat with bread for dinner. My hand slipped, and I accidentally cut my finger. Sambath said to me: "You can just urinate on the wound to stop the bleeding." I did - and the bleeding ceased. After dinner we jumped into our respective hammocks, hung between trees, to sleep. Sambath brought his own hammock from home but I did not and I ended up renting one from a soldier's wife for $15 for the night. It was outrageously expensive, but I had no choice. I was shivering. Sambath gave me more advice: "Put your hands under your pants and between your legs to get warmed up." I did and it worked - I fell asleep. At dawn we got up, packed our gear and continued our journey to Pailin - on foot. In the jungle, we came across abandoned rifles, bullets and rocket launchers. We could have stepped on land mines too since this was part of the frontline zone, but luckily all of us reached the destination safely. We got there 12 hours later completely exhausted. We woke up the next day to rumble through Pailin to do reporting.

There was never a shortage of big items to cover. Another was a protest against toxic waste dumping in Sihanoukville (now Preah Sihanouk province), in around December 1998. Local residents were fleeing for fear of the impact of the waste on their health. Many others were marching in protest through the town. We followed them wherever they went to make sure that we wouldn't miss any interesting episode. When the crowd approached a house of a senior local official, a man started unleashing bullets from his machine gun into the air. The sound was deafening. The crowd ran for their lives. Sambath and I jumped on a motorbike taxi to flee. At a local government office far away from the shooting scene, we stopped to catch our breath. Sambath apparently didn't know that something had gone wrong with his outfit as we were running for safety. Only when he sat down at this latest location did he realize that the rear side of his pants was ripped apart, revealing his underwear. We laughed!

It may sound strange to talk about what seems to be funny at a time of enormous grief. But I want to share the lighter moments that enriched our bonds with Sambath. As we grieve, we also celebrate his life achievements by cherishing all the memories, big and small, that we have experienced with him. They will stay with us forever and also remind us of the man whose generous and open heart, professionalism and integrity had an enormous impact on so many people from different walks of life: politicians, friends, journalists, students, relatives - you name it. No word can fully describe the larger-than-life Reach Sambath. He now rests in peace - and he will be missed profoundly.

Ker Munthit is a former journalist for the Associated Press and a friend to Reach Sambath for the past 20 years. He and Sambath attended the Columbia University School of Journalism together, graduating in 2001. He currently lives in Phnom Penh.



http://www.phnompenhpost.com/index.php/2011051349066/National-news/cayley-in-the-crosshairs.html

Cayley in the crosshairs
FRIDAY, 13 MAY 2011 15:03 JAMES O’TOOLE

The Khmer Rouge tribunal’s investigating judges are considering initiating contempt-of-court proceedings against British co-prosecutor Andrew Cayley, a move observers said would deal a potentially critical blow to the reputation of a court already hobbled by allegations of political interference.

A source at the court said yesterday that co-investigating judges Siegfried Blunk and You Bunleng were “seriously” considering the move in relation to Cayley’s disclosure earlier this week of details of their investigation in the court’s third case.

The judges announced the conclusion of this investigation last month, though they provided no details about the case to the public, including the crime sites being investigated and the identities of the suspects, over the course of their work.

On Monday, Cayley therefore took the unique step of issuing his own statement detailing crime sites in the investigation and inviting victims to join the case as civil parties, as the judges had not done.

As he is permitted to do under court rules, Cayley also said he would request that the judges perform a series of additional – and seemingly basic – investigative steps in the case that had not been undertaken. These steps included the examination of potential crime scenes and the interviewing of the suspects, who were not even questioned by the judges over the 20 months that the investigation was open.

The identities of these suspects remain officially confidential, though court documents reveal them as former KR navy commander Meas Muth and air force commander Sou Met.

Yesterday, it emerged that rather than focusing their energies on these two former cadres, the judges were instead contemplating the initiation of contempt-of-court proceedings against Cayley himself.

“These proceedings are being seriously considered by the co-investigating judges,” a source at the court said yesterday, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Under the rules of the tribunal, the judges may handle such proceedings internally or refer the matter to domestic authorities or the United Nations. The potential penalty facing Cayley was thus unclear yesterday, though any punishment handed down against him would almost certainly result in his departure from the court.

United Nations court spokesman Lars Olsen said yesterday that he had no information on the matter.

“The general principle is that the court will never make a comment about whether or not it is considering certain judicial decision,” he said.

Case 003 and the still-pending Case 004 have run up against stiff opposition from Cambodian officials, with Prime Minister Hun Sen declaring last year that they “will not be allowed”. The
limited investigation in the third case and the concealment of information about it has fuelled allegations that the judges have planned its dismissal in advance in the face of such pressure.

Proceedings against Cayley could have a potentially devastating impact on the legacy of a court set up with the goal of providing a model to the Cambodian justice system, said Clair Duffy, a trial monitor with the Open Society Justice Initiative.

“The really concerning thing about this kind of action is what it says about the potential repercussions for someone fulfilling an obligation and acting independently,” she said. “The example is that someone seeking to act with integrity but running contrary to political whims will be punished.”

Copyright © 2011 The Phnom Penh Post. All Rights Reserved.

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http://www.eccc.gov.kh/en/articles/frequently-asked-questions-about-case-003

Frequently asked questions about Case 003
Posted 3 days ago Updated 3 days ago
This document has been prepared by the ECCC Public Affairs Section for the purpose of providing the general public information about the ongoing judicial proceedings. It is not an official document.

What does it mean when the Co-Investigating Judges issued a notice of conclusion of investigation in Case 003?
The issuance of a notice of conclusion of investigation is a procedural step, where the Co-Investigating judges formally notify the parties and the public that they consider the investigation initiated by the Co-Prosecutors Introductory Submission to be concluded.

Any victim who wishes to apply to become a civil party must submit an application within 15 days after the notice of conclusion of investigation. With regards to Case 003 the deadline is 18 May 2011.

Does the notice of conclusion mean that the case is closed, and that a decision on whether or not the case will be sent for trial has been made?
No, the notice is a procedural step, not a substantive judicial decision. Following the notice of conclusion of investigation, the Co-Prosecutors have 15 days to request any further investigative action they may deem necessary.

If the Co-Prosecutors request further investigative action, the Co-Investigating Judges must either carry out the requested investigative action or reject the request through a reasoned judicial decision.

What happens if the Co-Investigative Judges reject request(s) for further investigative action?
The Co-Prosecutors can appeal a rejection from the Co-Investigating Judges to the Pre-Trial Chamber within 30 days after a decision has been made by the Co-Investigating Judges.

The Pre-Trial Chamber has through its jurisprudence established that Co-Investigating Judges have broad discretion to decide requests for investigative actions, and the Pre-Trial Chamber can only overturn their decision if the appellant can demonstrate that the decision made by the Co-Investigating Judges was based on grave errors .

What happens after requests for investigative actions have been carried out or rejected, or in case of appeals, when all appeals have been decided by the Pre-Trial Chamber?
The Co-Investigating Judges will transfer the case file to the Co-Prosecutors, who will have 3 months to make their Final Submission to the Co-Investigating Judges. The Co-Prosecutors may in their Final Submission either request the Co-Investigating Judges to make indictments and send a case for trial, or to dismiss the case.

What happens after the Co-Prosecutors have made their Final Submission?
The Co-Investigating Judges, who are not bound by recommendations in the Co-Prosecutors’ Final Submission, will issue a Closing Order. By definition, the Closing Order could be an Indictment sending the case for trial or a Dismissal Order, which would close the case.

Is there any possibility to appeal the Closing Order?
Yes, the Co-Prosecutors can appeal both kinds of Closing Orders to the Pre-Trial Chamber.

Why have the Co-Investigating Judges not provided more information to the public about Case 003?
Investigations before the ECCC are confidential by law. This is to protect both the integrity of the investigation, and to protect the presumption of innocence.

The legal system applied at the ECCC is based on a two-tiered system:
1. The investigations are confidential
2. If the investigations lead to indictments and trial, the trial will be conducted in public.

How can the public trust that the investigation is credible and impartial when only limited public information has been made available?
Investigations are confidential by law and the sole responsibility of the Investigating Judges. The public has no say in the investigations, and the public is not party to them. The Co-Prosecutors, representing the public interest, have as a party to the investigation an ample opportunity to examine whether the investigations were “credible and impartial” after the case has been forwarded to them, which has to be done on 2 occasions (during one of them, they can examine the investigations for a full 3 months before making their Final Submission).

When the whole investigative process has been completed, the Co-Investigating Judges will issue a Closing Order, which will either send the case for trial, or dismiss the case for lack of evidence or jurisdiction. The Closing Order will be a reasoned judicial decision, which will be made public. This way anyone can scrutinize and assess the work conducted by the Co-Investigating Judges.

In Case 002, information on the scope of investigation was released prior to the notice of conclusion of investigation. Why was no information on the scope of the investigation in Case 003 released before the notice of conclusion of investigation?
The situation in Case 003 is different to that in Case 002. By the time the scope of the investigation in Case 002 was made public, all defendants had been arrested and charged with crimes, and the investigation had been ongoing for more than two years while the defendants were held in provisional detention. In such a situation the Co-Investigating Judges found that to release limited information about the scope of investigation would not compromise the investigation.

In Case 003 no one has at this point been formally charged with crimes or been arrested. Consequently, it would be difficult to make public the scope of investigation without incurring the risk of compromising the future legal process of this case.

Are the names of alleged suspects in Cases 003 and 004 reported in media correct?
By law, it is only the Co-Investigating Judges who can release information about the investigation to the public, including the name of defendants. The Co-Investigating Judges are the only official channel of information, so any other information alleged by named persons or anonymous sources should not be treated as facts.

The names of the alleged suspects in Case 003 and 004 reported in the media are therefore speculative.

Why has the ECCC not actively invited Civil Parties to submit their applications in Case 003?
The experience from Case 002 showed that a substantive number of the Civil Party applicants were deemed by the Co-Investigating Judges to fall outside of the scope of investigation, and hence their applications were rejected. Most of the rejected Civil Party Applications had been filed before the scope of the investigation had been made public.

Since the scope of investigation in Case 003 at this point has not been made public, it would be a risk that most Civil Party Applications filed would fall outside of the scope of the investigation. To encourage the filing of Civil Party Applications in a situation as such, could potentially lead to the creation of unrealistic expectations for victims who might want to file an application to become a Civil Party.

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-------------------
9 May 2011

PRESS RELEASE

STATEMENT BY THE INTERNATIONAL CO-PROSECUTOR

REGARDING CASE FILE 003

The International Co-Prosecutor, Andrew Cayley, makes this public statement pursuant to ECCC Internal Rule 54, to ensure that the public is duly informed about ongoing ECCC proceedings, and in particular with regard to the International Co-Prosecutor’s Introductory Submission in Case File 003. In providing this information the interests of victims and witnesses, the rights of suspects, and the requirements of the investigation have been taken into account, as required under the Rules.

Following directions given by the Pre-Trial Chamber, on 7 September 2009, the International Co-Prosecutor submitted to the Co-Investigating Judges two Introductory Submissions opening judicial investigations into various crimes in Cases 003 and 004. These submissions named a total of five (5) suspects who the Co-Prosecutor believes are responsible for the alleged crimes and fall within the jurisdiction of the ECCC. Under the ECCC Internal Rules, the Co-Investigating Judges are required to investigate the criminal allegations contained in these submissions.

The Case 003 Introductory Submission addresses alleged crimes of murder, extermination, torture, unlawful imprisonment, enslavement, persecution and other inhumane acts. If proven, these acts would constitute crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and violations of the 1956 Cambodian Penal Code.

Crimes required to be judicially investigated as part of Case 003 took place at several crime sites and criminal episodes covered by Case 002, including the S-21 Security Centre, the Kampong Chhnang Airport Construction Site, purges of the East, Central and New North Zones, and incursions into Vietnam, as well as the following new crime sites and criminal episodes:

(1) S-22 Security Centre in the Phnom Penh area;

(2) Wat Eng Tea Nhien Security Centre in Kampong Som Province;

(3) Stung Hav Rock Quarry forced labour site in Kampong Som Province;

(4) Capture of foreign nationals off the coast of Cambodia and their unlawful imprisonment, transfer to S-21 or murder; and

(5) Security centres operated in Rattanakiri Province.

On 29 April 2011, the Office of the Co-Prosecutors received notification that the Co-Investigating Judges considered the investigation in Case 003 to be concluded. Having carefully reviewed the Case File, the International Co-Prosecutor intends to request further investigative actions regarding the alleged crimes, within the 15 day period specified in ECCC Internal Rule 66 (1). Among other things, the International Co-Prosecutor will request the Co-Investigating Judges to:

1. Summon and question the suspects named in the Case File 003 Introductory Submission, and notify them that they are under investigation;
2. Interview additional individuals who have been identified as potential witnesses thus far;
3. Interview or re-interview witnesses identified in Case File 002, focusing on the specific allegations contained in the Case File 003 Introductory Submission;
4. Examine further the crime sites (including by searching for mass grave locations);
5. Place additional evidence on the Case File, including by transferring further evidence from Case File 002 to Case File 003; and
6. Further investigate the involvement of the Case 003 suspects in the crimes, including the transfer of prisoners under their control to S-21, their receipt of “confessions” taken from prisoners murdered at S-21, and their involvement in further arrests.

The International Co-Prosecutor will request these actions as he is of the view that the crimes alleged in the Introductory Submission have not been fully investigated. He has a legal obligation under the Internal Rules and the Law of the ECCC to identify and request all reasonable investigative actions which should be taken by the Co-Investigating Judges before a decision is made as to the whether or not any individuals should be indicted and sent for trial.

Notification to Potential Civil Parties in Case File 003

Pursuant to Internal Rule 23bis, individuals who wish to apply to become Civil Parties in Case File 003 must submit applications no later than 15 days from the date on which the Co-Investigating Judges notified the Co-Prosecutors that they consider the investigation to be concluded. Applying the relevant legal provisions, the International Co-Prosecutor is of the view that the deadline for Civil Party applications now falls on Wednesday, 18 May 2011 at 4 pm.

Considering that the crime sites under investigation have not previously been made public, the International Co-Prosecutor will request the Co-Investigating Judges to extend the deadline for a further six weeks in order to allow reasonable time for victims to submit Civil Party applications. However, at present, the only guarantee that a Civil Party application will be considered by the Co-Investigating Judges is by having it filed by 18 May 2011 at 4.00pm. In the event that the Co-Investigating Judges extend the deadline the public will be notified.

Under Internal Rule 23bis (1) and Article 3.2 of the Practice Direction on Victim Participation, a victim is defined as a natural person or legal entity that has suffered physical, material or psychological injury as a direct consequence of at least one of the alleged crimes.

Victims wishing to apply should contact the ECCC Victims Support Section, fill out and file a Victim Information Form this week. The office is open Monday to Friday except on public holidays. The address is:

Victims Support Section, Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia
National Road 4
Chaom Chau, Dangkao
PO Box 71
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Town office:
House No. 6A
Street 21, Sangkat Tonle Basac I, Khan Chamcarmon
Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Phone: 023 214 291; or 097 742 4218 (helpline)

Notification to Potential Complainants in Case File 003

Individuals in possession of information regarding the crimes under investigation may submit that information to the Co-Prosecutors. Under Rule 49 (2), complaints or information may be lodged with the Co-Prosecutors by any person, organisation or other source who witnessed or was a victim of the alleged crimes, or who has knowledge of the alleged crimes.

Rule 49 places on the Co-Prosecutors an ongoing duty to evaluate complaints or information alleging commission of crimes within the jurisdiction of the ECCC. Where the Co-Prosecutors receive complaints or information relevant to an ongoing judicial investigation, they may forward such complaints or information to the Co-Investigating Judges to be placed on the case file as evidence. Complaints or information may be submitted through the Victims Support Section, or to the Office of the Co-Prosecutors directly. While there is no specified deadline for the filing of complaints, the International Co-Prosecutor encourages victims or witnesses who wish to make a complaint about the crimes described in Case File 003 to do so as soon as possible.

____________________________________

10 May 2011
PRESS RELEASE

STATEMENT BY THE NATIONAL CO-PROSECUTOR REGARDING CASE FILE 003

The National Co-Prosecutor, CHEA Leang, makes this public statement pursuant to ECCC Internal Rule 54 regarding Case File 003.

In view of the first preliminary investigation by the International Co-Prosecutor and the latest investigation leading to the closure of investigation by the Co-Investigating Judges, the National Co-Prosecutor thoroughly examined and maintained that the suspects mentioned the Case File 003 were not either senior leaders or those who were most responsible during the period of Democratic Kampuchea.

In accordance with the Law on the Establishment of Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia for the Prosecution of Crimes Committed During the Period of Democratic Kampuchea (the “ECCC Law”) and the preamble of the Agreement between the United Nations and the Royal Government of Cambodia concerning the Prosecution under Cambodian Law of Crimes Committed during the Period of Democratic Kampuchea (“UN-RGC Agreement”) dated 18 December 2002 and the recognition by the United Nations General Assembly of the legitimate concern of the Royal Government of Cambodia and the people of Cambodia in the pursuit of justice and national reconciliation, stability, peace and security, the selection of two categories of suspects were made: senior leaders of Democratic Kampuchea and those who were most responsible for the crimes and serious violations of the Cambodian penal law, international humanitarian law and custom, and international conventions recognized by Cambodia, that were committed during the period from 17 April 1975 to 6 January 1979.

Further, the National Co-Prosecutor opines that priorities should be given to the prosecution of the Accused in the custody of the ECCC Detention Facility. In light of the UN-RGC Agreement and the ECCC Law that envisaged the prosecution of a limited number of people.

For the reasons given, the National Co-Prosecutor maintains that the named suspects in Case File 003 do not fall within the jurisdiction of the ECCC to be brought to trial and that the Tribunal’s mandate can be adequately fulfilled through the prosecution of the Accused persons in the ECCC Detention Facility.

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11 May 2011
Press Release
Chief of Public Affairs of the ECCC passed away

Further to the press release earlier today, we sadly confirm that Mr. Reach Sambath, Chief of the Public Affairs Section of the ECCC, passed away at 8:45 pm at the Calmet Hospital. He was 47 and survived by his wife and 3 childrens.

Our deep condolences lie with his family at this difficult time.

For more information, please contact:
Lars Olsen
Legal Communications Officer
Mobile: +855 (0) 12 488 023
Land line: +855 (0) 23 219 814 ext. 6169
Email: olsenl@un.org

Dim Sovannarom
Press Officer
Mobile: +855 (0) 12 488 094
Email: dim.sovannarom@eccc.gov.kh

Yuko Maeda
Public Affairs Officer
Mobile: +855 (0) 12 488 319
Land line: +855 (0) 23 219 814 ext. 6139
Email: maeday@un.org


Independently Searching for the Truth since 1997.
MEMORY & JUSTICE

Cayley in the crosshairs

FRIDAY, 13 MAY 2011 15:03 JAMES O’TOOLE

The Khmer Rouge tribunal’s investigating judges are considering initiating contempt-of-court proceedings against British co-prosecutor Andrew Cayley, a move observers said would deal a potentially critical blow to the reputation of a court already hobbled by allegations of political interference.

A source at the court said yesterday that co-investigating judges Siegfried Blunk and You Bunleng were “seriously” considering the move in relation to Cayley’s disclosure earlier this week of details of their investigation in the court’s third case.

The judges announced the conclusion of this investigation last month, though they provided no details about the case to the public, including the crime sites being investigated and the identities of the suspects, over the course of their work.

On Monday, Cayley therefore took the unique step of issuing his own statement detailing crime sites in the investigation and inviting victims to join the case as civil parties, as the judges had not done.

As he is permitted to do under court rules, Cayley also said he would request that the judges perform a series of additional – and seemingly basic – investigative steps in the case that had not been undertaken. These steps included the examination of potential crime scenes and the interviewing of the suspects, who were not even questioned by the judges over the 20 months that the investigation was open.

The identities of these suspects remain officially confidential, though court documents reveal them as former KR navy commander Meas Muth and air force commander Sou Met.

Yesterday, it emerged that rather than focusing their energies on these two former cadres, the judges were instead contemplating the initiation of contempt-of-court proceedings against Cayley himself.

“These proceedings are being seriously considered by the co-investigating judges,” a source at the court said yesterday, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Under the rules of the tribunal, the judges may handle such proceedings internally or refer the matter to domestic authorities or the United Nations. The potential penalty facing Cayley was thus unclear yesterday, though any punishment handed down against him would almost certainly result in his departure from the court.

United Nations court spokesman Lars Olsen said yesterday that he had no information on the matter.

“The general principle is that the court will never make a comment about whether or not it is considering certain judicial decision,” he said.

Case 003 and the still-pending Case 004 have run up against stiff opposition from Cambodian officials, with Prime Minister Hun Sen declaring last year that they “will not be allowed”. The
limited investigation in the third case and the concealment of information about it has fuelled allegations that the judges have planned its dismissal in advance in the face of such pressure.

Proceedings against Cayley could have a potentially devastating impact on the legacy of a court set up with the goal of providing a model to the Cambodian justice system, said Clair Duffy, a trial monitor with the Open Society Justice Initiative.

“The really concerning thing about this kind of action is what it says about the potential repercussions for someone fulfilling an obligation and acting independently,” she said. “The example is that someone seeking to act with integrity but running contrary to political whims will be punished.”

Copyright © 2011 The Phnom Penh Post. All Rights Reserved.

-----------

http://www.eccc.gov.kh/en/articles/frequently-asked-questions-about-case-003

Frequently asked questions about Case 003
Posted 3 days ago Updated 3 days ago
This document has been prepared by the ECCC Public Affairs Section for the purpose of providing the general public information about the ongoing judicial proceedings. It is not an official document.

What does it mean when the Co-Investigating Judges issued a notice of conclusion of investigation in Case 003?
The issuance of a notice of conclusion of investigation is a procedural step, where the Co-Investigating judges formally notify the parties and the public that they consider the investigation initiated by the Co-Prosecutors Introductory Submission to be concluded.

Any victim who wishes to apply to become a civil party must submit an application within 15 days after the notice of conclusion of investigation. With regards to Case 003 the deadline is 18 May 2011.

Does the notice of conclusion mean that the case is closed, and that a decision on whether or not the case will be sent for trial has been made?
No, the notice is a procedural step, not a substantive judicial decision. Following the notice of conclusion of investigation, the Co-Prosecutors have 15 days to request any further investigative action they may deem necessary.

If the Co-Prosecutors request further investigative action, the Co-Investigating Judges must either carry out the requested investigative action or reject the request through a reasoned judicial decision.

What happens if the Co-Investigative Judges reject request(s) for further investigative action?
The Co-Prosecutors can appeal a rejection from the Co-Investigating Judges to the Pre-Trial Chamber within 30 days after a decision has been made by the Co-Investigating Judges.

The Pre-Trial Chamber has through its jurisprudence established that Co-Investigating Judges have broad discretion to decide requests for investigative actions, and the Pre-Trial Chamber can only overturn their decision if the appellant can demonstrate that the decision made by the Co-Investigating Judges was based on grave errors .

What happens after requests for investigative actions have been carried out or rejected, or in case of appeals, when all appeals have been decided by the Pre-Trial Chamber?
The Co-Investigating Judges will transfer the case file to the Co-Prosecutors, who will have 3 months to make their Final Submission to the Co-Investigating Judges. The Co-Prosecutors may in their Final Submission either request the Co-Investigating Judges to make indictments and send a case for trial, or to dismiss the case.

What happens after the Co-Prosecutors have made their Final Submission?
The Co-Investigating Judges, who are not bound by recommendations in the Co-Prosecutors’ Final Submission, will issue a Closing Order. By definition, the Closing Order could be an Indictment sending the case for trial or a Dismissal Order, which would close the case.

Is there any possibility to appeal the Closing Order?
Yes, the Co-Prosecutors can appeal both kinds of Closing Orders to the Pre-Trial Chamber.

Why have the Co-Investigating Judges not provided more information to the public about Case 003?
Investigations before the ECCC are confidential by law. This is to protect both the integrity of the investigation, and to protect the presumption of innocence.

The legal system applied at the ECCC is based on a two-tiered system:
1. The investigations are confidential
2. If the investigations lead to indictments and trial, the trial will be conducted in public.

How can the public trust that the investigation is credible and impartial when only limited public information has been made available?
Investigations are confidential by law and the sole responsibility of the Investigating Judges. The public has no say in the investigations, and the public is not party to them. The Co-Prosecutors, representing the public interest, have as a party to the investigation an ample opportunity to examine whether the investigations were “credible and impartial” after the case has been forwarded to them, which has to be done on 2 occasions (during one of them, they can examine the investigations for a full 3 months before making their Final Submission).

When the whole investigative process has been completed, the Co-Investigating Judges will issue a Closing Order, which will either send the case for trial, or dismiss the case for lack of evidence or jurisdiction. The Closing Order will be a reasoned judicial decision, which will be made public. This way anyone can scrutinize and assess the work conducted by the Co-Investigating Judges.

In Case 002, information on the scope of investigation was released prior to the notice of conclusion of investigation. Why was no information on the scope of the investigation in Case 003 released before the notice of conclusion of investigation?
The situation in Case 003 is different to that in Case 002. By the time the scope of the investigation in Case 002 was made public, all defendants had been arrested and charged with crimes, and the investigation had been ongoing for more than two years while the defendants were held in provisional detention. In such a situation the Co-Investigating Judges found that to release limited information about the scope of investigation would not compromise the investigation.

In Case 003 no one has at this point been formally charged with crimes or been arrested. Consequently, it would be difficult to make public the scope of investigation without incurring the risk of compromising the future legal process of this case.

Are the names of alleged suspects in Cases 003 and 004 reported in media correct?
By law, it is only the Co-Investigating Judges who can release information about the investigation to the public, including the name of defendants. The Co-Investigating Judges are the only official channel of information, so any other information alleged by named persons or anonymous sources should not be treated as facts.

The names of the alleged suspects in Case 003 and 004 reported in the media are therefore speculative.

Why has the ECCC not actively invited Civil Parties to submit their applications in Case 003?
The experience from Case 002 showed that a substantive number of the Civil Party applicants were deemed by the Co-Investigating Judges to fall outside of the scope of investigation, and hence their applications were rejected. Most of the rejected Civil Party Applications had been filed before the scope of the investigation had been made public.

Since the scope of investigation in Case 003 at this point has not been made public, it would be a risk that most Civil Party Applications filed would fall outside of the scope of the investigation. To encourage the filing of Civil Party Applications in a situation as such, could potentially lead to the creation of unrealistic expectations for victims who might want to file an application to become a Civil Party.

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9 May 2011

PRESS RELEASE

STATEMENT BY THE INTERNATIONAL CO-PROSECUTOR

REGARDING CASE FILE 003

The International Co-Prosecutor, Andrew Cayley, makes this public statement pursuant to ECCC Internal Rule 54, to ensure that the public is duly informed about ongoing ECCC proceedings, and in particular with regard to the International Co-Prosecutor’s Introductory Submission in Case File 003. In providing this information the interests of victims and witnesses, the rights of suspects, and the requirements of the investigation have been taken into account, as required under the Rules.

Following directions given by the Pre-Trial Chamber, on 7 September 2009, the International Co-Prosecutor submitted to the Co-Investigating Judges two Introductory Submissions opening judicial investigations into various crimes in Cases 003 and 004. These submissions named a total of five (5) suspects who the Co-Prosecutor believes are responsible for the alleged crimes and fall within the jurisdiction of the ECCC. Under the ECCC Internal Rules, the Co-Investigating Judges are required to investigate the criminal allegations contained in these submissions.

The Case 003 Introductory Submission addresses alleged crimes of murder, extermination, torture, unlawful imprisonment, enslavement, persecution and other inhumane acts. If proven, these acts would constitute crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and violations of the 1956 Cambodian Penal Code.

Crimes required to be judicially investigated as part of Case 003 took place at several crime sites and criminal episodes covered by Case 002, including the S-21 Security Centre, the Kampong Chhnang Airport Construction Site, purges of the East, Central and New North Zones, and incursions into Vietnam, as well as the following new crime sites and criminal episodes:

(1) S-22 Security Centre in the Phnom Penh area;

(2) Wat Eng Tea Nhien Security Centre in Kampong Som Province;

(3) Stung Hav Rock Quarry forced labour site in Kampong Som Province;

(4) Capture of foreign nationals off the coast of Cambodia and their unlawful imprisonment, transfer to S-21 or murder; and

(5) Security centres operated in Rattanakiri Province.

On 29 April 2011, the Office of the Co-Prosecutors received notification that the Co-Investigating Judges considered the investigation in Case 003 to be concluded. Having carefully reviewed the Case File, the International Co-Prosecutor intends to request further investigative actions regarding the alleged crimes, within the 15 day period specified in ECCC Internal Rule 66 (1). Among other things, the International Co-Prosecutor will request the Co-Investigating Judges to:

1. Summon and question the suspects named in the Case File 003 Introductory Submission, and notify them that they are under investigation;
2. Interview additional individuals who have been identified as potential witnesses thus far;
3. Interview or re-interview witnesses identified in Case File 002, focusing on the specific allegations contained in the Case File 003 Introductory Submission;
4. Examine further the crime sites (including by searching for mass grave locations);
5. Place additional evidence on the Case File, including by transferring further evidence from Case File 002 to Case File 003; and
6. Further investigate the involvement of the Case 003 suspects in the crimes, including the transfer of prisoners under their control to S-21, their receipt of “confessions” taken from prisoners murdered at S-21, and their involvement in further arrests.

The International Co-Prosecutor will request these actions as he is of the view that the crimes alleged in the Introductory Submission have not been fully investigated. He has a legal obligation under the Internal Rules and the Law of the ECCC to identify and request all reasonable investigative actions which should be taken by the Co-Investigating Judges before a decision is made as to the whether or not any individuals should be indicted and sent for trial.

Notification to Potential Civil Parties in Case File 003

Pursuant to Internal Rule 23bis, individuals who wish to apply to become Civil Parties in Case File 003 must submit applications no later than 15 days from the date on which the Co-Investigating Judges notified the Co-Prosecutors that they consider the investigation to be concluded. Applying the relevant legal provisions, the International Co-Prosecutor is of the view that the deadline for Civil Party applications now falls on Wednesday, 18 May 2011 at 4 pm.

Considering that the crime sites under investigation have not previously been made public, the International Co-Prosecutor will request the Co-Investigating Judges to extend the deadline for a further six weeks in order to allow reasonable time for victims to submit Civil Party applications. However, at present, the only guarantee that a Civil Party application will be considered by the Co-Investigating Judges is by having it filed by 18 May 2011 at 4.00pm. In the event that the Co-Investigating Judges extend the deadline the public will be notified.

Under Internal Rule 23bis (1) and Article 3.2 of the Practice Direction on Victim Participation, a victim is defined as a natural person or legal entity that has suffered physical, material or psychological injury as a direct consequence of at least one of the alleged crimes.

Victims wishing to apply should contact the ECCC Victims Support Section, fill out and file a Victim Information Form this week. The office is open Monday to Friday except on public holidays. The address is:

Victims Support Section, Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia
National Road 4
Chaom Chau, Dangkao
PO Box 71
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Town office:
House No. 6A
Street 21, Sangkat Tonle Basac I, Khan Chamcarmon
Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Phone: 023 214 291; or 097 742 4218 (helpline)

Notification to Potential Complainants in Case File 003

Individuals in possession of information regarding the crimes under investigation may submit that information to the Co-Prosecutors. Under Rule 49 (2), complaints or information may be lodged with the Co-Prosecutors by any person, organisation or other source who witnessed or was a victim of the alleged crimes, or who has knowledge of the alleged crimes.

Rule 49 places on the Co-Prosecutors an ongoing duty to evaluate complaints or information alleging commission of crimes within the jurisdiction of the ECCC. Where the Co-Prosecutors receive complaints or information relevant to an ongoing judicial investigation, they may forward such complaints or information to the Co-Investigating Judges to be placed on the case file as evidence. Complaints or information may be submitted through the Victims Support Section, or to the Office of the Co-Prosecutors directly. While there is no specified deadline for the filing of complaints, the International Co-Prosecutor encourages victims or witnesses who wish to make a complaint about the crimes described in Case File 003 to do so as soon as possible.

____________________________________

10 May 2011
PRESS RELEASE

STATEMENT BY THE NATIONAL CO-PROSECUTOR REGARDING CASE FILE 003

The National Co-Prosecutor, CHEA Leang, makes this public statement pursuant to ECCC Internal Rule 54 regarding Case File 003.

In view of the first preliminary investigation by the International Co-Prosecutor and the latest investigation leading to the closure of investigation by the Co-Investigating Judges, the National Co-Prosecutor thoroughly examined and maintained that the suspects mentioned the Case File 003 were not either senior leaders or those who were most responsible during the period of Democratic Kampuchea.

In accordance with the Law on the Establishment of Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia for the Prosecution of Crimes Committed During the Period of Democratic Kampuchea (the “ECCC Law”) and the preamble of the Agreement between the United Nations and the Royal Government of Cambodia concerning the Prosecution under Cambodian Law of Crimes Committed during the Period of Democratic Kampuchea (“UN-RGC Agreement”) dated 18 December 2002 and the recognition by the United Nations General Assembly of the legitimate concern of the Royal Government of Cambodia and the people of Cambodia in the pursuit of justice and national reconciliation, stability, peace and security, the selection of two categories of suspects were made: senior leaders of Democratic Kampuchea and those who were most responsible for the crimes and serious violations of the Cambodian penal law, international humanitarian law and custom, and international conventions recognized by Cambodia, that were committed during the period from 17 April 1975 to 6 January 1979.

Further, the National Co-Prosecutor opines that priorities should be given to the prosecution of the Accused in the custody of the ECCC Detention Facility. In light of the UN-RGC Agreement and the ECCC Law that envisaged the prosecution of a limited number of people.

For the reasons given, the National Co-Prosecutor maintains that the named suspects in Case File 003 do not fall within the jurisdiction of the ECCC to be brought to trial and that the Tribunal’s mandate can be adequately fulfilled through the prosecution of the Accused persons in the ECCC Detention Facility.

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11 May 2011
Press Release
Chief of Public Affairs of the ECCC passed away

Further to the press release earlier today, we sadly confirm that Mr. Reach Sambath, Chief of the Public Affairs Section of the ECCC, passed away at 8:45 pm at the Calmet Hospital. He was 47 and survived by his wife and 3 childrens.

Our deep condolences lie with his family at this difficult time.

For more information, please contact:
Lars Olsen
Legal Communications Officer
Mobile: +855 (0) 12 488 023
Land line: +855 (0) 23 219 814 ext. 6169
Email: olsenl@un.org

Dim Sovannarom
Press Officer
Mobile: +855 (0) 12 488 094
Email: dim.sovannarom@eccc.gov.kh

Yuko Maeda
Public Affairs Officer
Mobile: +855 (0) 12 488 319
Land line: +855 (0) 23 219 814 ext. 6139
Email: maeday@un.org


Independently Searching for the Truth since 1997.
MEMORY & JUSTICE

Frequently asked questions about Case 003

This document has been prepared by the ECCC Public Affairs Section for the purpose of providing the general public information about the ongoing judicial proceedings. It is not an official document.

What does it mean when the Co-Investigating Judges issued a notice of conclusion of investigation in Case 003?
The issuance of a notice of conclusion of investigation is a procedural step, where the Co-Investigating judges formally notify the parties and the public that they consider the investigation initiated by the Co-Prosecutors Introductory Submission to be concluded.

Any victim who wishes to apply to become a civil party must submit an application within 15 days after the notice of conclusion of investigation. With regards to Case 003 the deadline is 18 May 2011.

Does the notice of conclusion mean that the case is closed, and that a decision on whether or not the case will be sent for trial has been made?
No, the notice is a procedural step, not a substantive judicial decision. Following the notice of conclusion of investigation, the Co-Prosecutors have 15 days to request any further investigative action they may deem necessary.

If the Co-Prosecutors request further investigative action, the Co-Investigating Judges must either carry out the requested investigative action or reject the request through a reasoned judicial decision.

What happens if the Co-Investigative Judges reject request(s) for further investigative action?
The Co-Prosecutors can appeal a rejection from the Co-Investigating Judges to the Pre-Trial Chamber within 30 days after a decision has been made by the Co-Investigating Judges.

The Pre-Trial Chamber has through its jurisprudence established that Co-Investigating Judges have broad discretion to decide requests for investigative actions, and the Pre-Trial Chamber can only overturn their decision if the appellant can demonstrate that the decision made by the Co-Investigating Judges was based on grave errors .

What happens after requests for investigative actions have been carried out or rejected, or in case of appeals, when all appeals have been decided by the Pre-Trial Chamber?
The Co-Investigating Judges will transfer the case file to the Co-Prosecutors, who will have 3 months to make their Final Submission to the Co-Investigating Judges. The Co-Prosecutors may in their Final Submission either request the Co-Investigating Judges to make indictments and send a case for trial, or to dismiss the case.

What happens after the Co-Prosecutors have made their Final Submission?
The Co-Investigating Judges, who are not bound by recommendations in the Co-Prosecutors’ Final Submission, will issue a Closing Order. By definition, the Closing Order could be an Indictment sending the case for trial or a Dismissal Order, which would close the case.

Is there any possibility to appeal the Closing Order?
Yes, the Co-Prosecutors can appeal both kinds of Closing Orders to the Pre-Trial Chamber.

Why have the Co-Investigating Judges not provided more information to the public about Case 003?
Investigations before the ECCC are confidential by law. This is to protect both the integrity of the investigation, and to protect the presumption of innocence.

The legal system applied at the ECCC is based on a two-tiered system:
1. The investigations are confidential
2. If the investigations lead to indictments and trial, the trial will be conducted in public.

How can the public trust that the investigation is credible and impartial when only limited public information has been made available?
Investigations are confidential by law and the sole responsibility of the Investigating Judges. The public has no say in the investigations, and the public is not party to them. The Co-Prosecutors, representing the public interest, have as a party to the investigation an ample opportunity to examine whether the investigations were “credible and impartial” after the case has been forwarded to them, which has to be done on 2 occasions (during one of them, they can examine the investigations for a full 3 months before making their Final Submission).

When the whole investigative process has been completed, the Co-Investigating Judges will issue a Closing Order, which will either send the case for trial, or dismiss the case for lack of evidence or jurisdiction. The Closing Order will be a reasoned judicial decision, which will be made public. This way anyone can scrutinize and assess the work conducted by the Co-Investigating Judges.

In Case 002, information on the scope of investigation was released prior to the notice of conclusion of investigation. Why was no information on the scope of the investigation in Case 003 released before the notice of conclusion of investigation?
The situation in Case 003 is different to that in Case 002. By the time the scope of the investigation in Case 002 was made public, all defendants had been arrested and charged with crimes, and the investigation had been ongoing for more than two years while the defendants were held in provisional detention. In such a situation the Co-Investigating Judges found that to release limited information about the scope of investigation would not compromise the investigation.

In Case 003 no one has at this point been formally charged with crimes or been arrested. Consequently, it would be difficult to make public the scope of investigation without incurring the risk of compromising the future legal process of this case.

Are the names of alleged suspects in Cases 003 and 004 reported in media correct?
By law, it is only the Co-Investigating Judges who can release information about the investigation to the public, including the name of defendants. The Co-Investigating Judges are the only official channel of information, so any other information alleged by named persons or anonymous sources should not be treated as facts.

The names of the alleged suspects in Case 003 and 004 reported in the media are therefore speculative.

Why has the ECCC not actively invited Civil Parties to submit their applications in Case 003?
The experience from Case 002 showed that a substantive number of the Civil Party applicants were deemed by the Co-Investigating Judges to fall outside of the scope of investigation, and hence their applications were rejected. Most of the rejected Civil Party Applications had been filed before the scope of the investigation had been made public.

Since the scope of investigation in Case 003 at this point has not been made public, it would be a risk that most Civil Party Applications filed would fall outside of the scope of the investigation. To encourage the filing of Civil Party Applications in a situation as such, could potentially lead to the creation of unrealistic expectations for victims who might want to file an application to become a Civil Party.

Search the Site© 2011 ECCC (Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia)
National Road 4, Chaom Chau Commune, Dangkao District, Phnom Penh
P.O. BOX 71, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Tel: (855) 23 219 814 | Fax: (855) 23 219 841
Email: info@eccc.gov.kh
Webmail: Sign in (staff only) [ + ] Feedback
----------------


Independently Searching for the Truth since 1997.
MEMORY & JUSTICE

Renowned Cambodian journalist Reach Sambath passes away after a long and distinguished career

Reach Sambath, 1964-2011
May 12, 2011
By Luke Hunt

As a war correspondent, Reach Sambath was among the bravest. Throughout the 1990s, he earned his stripes as the journalist ‘who got on the chopper first’ when Cambodia’s warring factions went into battle. Later on, he emerged alongside his most affable compatriots as his country began stitching together a peace. Sambath, sadly, passed away Wednesday after a massive stroke. He was 47 (we think).

When I began as bureau chief for Agence France-Presse (AFP) in Cambodia on July 1, 2001, Sambath’s exploits had already lent him an air of superiority. With his great friend Ker Munthit at Associated Press, the pair had formed the formidable local backbone of the international press corps in Cambodia. They survived the Khmer Rouge, and got themselves educated in Cambodia and abroad before going on to tell the noble truth.

By the time I arrived, Sambath had just returned from the United States where he had completed a scholarship for advanced journalists at Columbia University. He held the best contact book in Cambodia and a love for the job that was unsurpassed, matched only by the size of his big Khmer heart.


On only our third day on the job together, a bomb was detonated inside the Hong Kong Hotel on Monivong Boulevard. It was a wet and miserable day and Monivong was then a bog of red clay. We arrived just minutes before a second bomb went off about 130 feet away.

Sambath didn’t flinch as others dropped into the mud. Fastidiously clean, the idea of ruining a perfectly pressed shirt just wasn’t acceptable to him. Two people were dead and another seven wounded. Quickly and calmly, Sambath led our small group to shelter in case there was a third bomb.

Such stories were common among my predecessors Matthew Lee, who helped build the roof on Sambath’s family home, and Sheri Prasso, who initially hired him back in 1992.

That calmness, however, often masked a heightened sensitivity.

At times, Sambath was deeply frustrated by the asinine coverage of Cambodia that was occasionally offered by journalists looking for a sensational headline to please an editor and a by-line from the Killing Fields to appease his or her ego.

The same could be said for editors in Hong Kong and Bangkok, who liked to think Cambodia was simply an extension of Thai foreign policy and were prone to making horribly wrong assumptions. That thinking is evident in the coverage of the conflict at Preah Vihear today. They lacked respect.

Sambath even once chided Hun Sen for not giving him enough respect. They met for the first time after his return from the United States and Sambath told me within earshot of a standoffish prime minister: ‘He thinks I’ve been tainted by foreign influences.’

Nothing could have been further from the truth.

Sambath could be prickly as he juggled a family life with the hard and fast dictates of a wire service while also moonlighting as a university lecturer and for some of the world’s great mastheads.

His favourite gigs were with Seth Mydans at The New York Times, although the list of journalists with whom he shared a cold beer, many more laughs and his political insights, was endless. Among them: Michael Hayes, Hurley Scroggins and Seth Meixner—all of The Phnom Penh Post at some point—and The Cambodia Daily’s long-serving editor, Kevin Doyle.

In the early days, the idea of a Khmer Rouge tribunal scared Sambath. He wasn’t opposed to the idea of justice—both his parents were killed by Pol Pot, and he loathed the Khmer Rouge who orphaned him. As a result, I don’t think Sambath ever knew his real birthday or his true age.

This is a point too often lost on Cambodians who grew up abroad, and long time observers whose incessant and sometimes hysterical demands of the tribunal to deliver on their sense of justice scare the daylights out of the very people they claim to represent.

Sambath genuinely feared a tribunal would lead his devastated country back to war, and revenge was never in his book. He spent a disproportionate amount of his time getting journalists out of trouble and was the only person I knew who could calm and cajole an irate Hok Lundy, the much feared bully and former National Police Commissioner.

His attitude to the tribunal, like many Cambodians, did eventually change after years of arduous negotiations evolved into the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) and the surviving leaders of Pol Pot’s 1975-79 rule were charged and remanded. In time, Sambath warmed to the ECCC and eventually embraced it whole-heartedly.

He would leave AFP and work an array of media institutions including the New York-based Independent Journalism Foundation, before joining the ECCC as Case 001 got underway with Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, in the dock.

As the fortunes of justice fluctuated, Sambath rose to the occasion, serving the courts as chief of public affairs. I will always cherish the smile on Sambath’s face that day last year when Duch was found guilty and jailed for crimes against humanity and the extermination of his compatriots.

Sambath was a man of many moods, happiest and best when taking charge of his students at the Royal University of Phnom Penh or spending an afternoon as host for the thousands of men and women who were trucked from remote kampongs to the ECCC, where they witnessed the trial process first hand.

In his final hours, doctors were preparing him for a medical evacuation to Thailand. But in the end, Sambath died where he belonged—in Cambodia. He leaves behind a wife, Chhoy Chanthy, three children—Champaradh, Rithvong and Samboreak—an indebted nation and a generation of young Cambodian journalists who he inspired. He was also my friend, and I will miss him.

http://the-diplomat.com/asean-beat/2011/05/12/reach-sambath-1964-2011/For inquiries, please contact The Diplomat at info@the-diplomat.com


Independently Searching for the Truth since 1997.
MEMORY & JUSTICE

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Why April's the right month for genocide awareness

April 21, 2011

By Ellen J. Kennedy

It was in April 1915 that the Ottoman government began rounding up and murdering leading Armenian politicians, businessmen and intellectuals, a step that led to the extermination of more than a million Armenians.

In April 1933, the Nazis issued a decree paving the way for the "final solution," the annihilation of 6 million Jews of Europe.

In April 1975, the Khmer Rouge entered Cambodia's capital city and launched a four-year wave of violence, killing 2 million people.

In April 1992, the siege of Sarajevo began in Bosnia. It was the longest siege in modern history, and more than 10,000 people perished, including 1,500 children.

In April 1994, the plane carrying the president of Rwanda crashed and triggered the beginning of a genocide that killed more than 800,000 people in 100 days.

In April 2003, innocent civilians in Sudan's Darfur region were attacked; 400,000 have been killed and 2.5 million displaced in a genocide that continues today.

April is the cruelest month.

The world has witnessed nearly a century of genocides that all began in April. Millions of people perished; cultures were destroyed; communities and nations were ruined.

What can we do to pay tribute, to honor those who suffered unimaginable tragedy, and to prevent future atrocities?

This month, the Minnesota Legislature passed a remarkable resolution that designates April as Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month. The resolution was sponsored by DFLers and Republicans, men and women, legislators whose constituents include survivors and descendants of those who perished, and constituents whose families have lived peacefully in this country for generations.

More than 800 Minnesotans signed letters to their elected officials supporting this effort. What does it mean to have a month designated for genocide awareness and prevention?

Most people don't know much about genocide. The word didn't even exist until it was coined in the 1940s by Raphael Lemkin, a Polish Jew who fled from the Holocaust. Although he found refuge in the United States, his entire extended family, 49 in all, perished at Auschwitz.

Lemkin believed there had to be a word to describe what happened in Europe and a law to prevent its recurrence. He wrote the Genocide Convention, an international treaty to prevent the extermination of people based on their race, religion, ethnicity or national origin. This treaty, passed in the United Nations in 1948, wasn't ratified by our country until 1988, fully 40 years later, and then only through heroic efforts by the late Sen. William Proxmire of Wisconsin. Proxmire gave 3,211 speeches on the floor of the Senate, a speech a day for 19 years, urging passage of the Genocide Convention.

Even though we have the word to describe it, and the law to prevent and punish it, genocide continues. Genocide has no boundaries in time, geography or target. It has happened on every continent and to people of widely different backgrounds and identities. It can happen anywhere -- and everywhere.

In 2008, the United States Holocaust Museum, the American Academy of Diplomacy and the U.S. Institute for Peace convened a task force, headed by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, to outline strategies to prevent genocide. Their report included many recommendations, one of which is that education can help protect individual rights and promote a culture of lawfulness that will prevent future genocides.

We encourage organizations in faith, civic, educational and human rights communities to raise awareness about genocide. Show a film, host a speaker, meet with some of Minnesota's thousands of genocide survivors, or discuss a book such as "A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide," by Samantha Power.

These steps will increase awareness, the first part of this important state resolution. The second part is genocide prevention. Most people feel that preventing genocide is far beyond anything they can do as ordinary individuals. Yet it is exactly ordinary individuals who have the power to prevent genocide.

Former President Bill Clinton was in office during the tragedy in Rwanda. He said, after the genocide, that he probably could have saved a few hundred thousand lives. Imagine being able to say that you could have saved a few hundred thousand lives, or a few thousand, or a few hundred, or even one. Clinton said he did nothing because he didn't hear from a single one of our 100 senators in Washington, or a single one of the 435 representatives, asking him to take a stand. He didn't hear from them for a very simple reason: They didn't hear from us.

Each of us can create the political will to prevent genocide. Each of us can make sure that our elected officials know we want innocent people to be protected, wherever they are. Each of us can speak up.

April is the cruelest month. We must ensure that the list of April's genocides grows no longer.

----

Ellen Kennedy is the executive director of World Without Genocide at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul.
Minnesota Public Radio ©2011 All rights reserved

Independently Searching for the Truth since 1997.
MEMORY & JUSTICE

THERE IS NO JUSTICE FOR MY FAMILY

I continue to remember and hold close to my heart the events of 17 April 1975. At that time I was about 11 years old. My father was a government official in the Department of Cadastre of the Khmer Republic. He was a supporter of Sihanouk because he wanted to drive out the U.S. imperialists who invaded the country. My mother was a gem trader and my older brother and sister were students.

On the morning of 17 April 1975, while I was sitting on the stairs in front of my house watching my father fix his car, I heard the sound of an explosion and I saw smoke fluttering into the sky. Soon after, three soldiers dressed in black walked to my house and screamed for us to open the door of our gate. They said that if anyone did not listen, they would be shot and killed. One of the soldiers asked my father, “Were you a Lon Nol soldier?” My father told them, “I was not a soldier. I worked in the Department of Cadastre.” But these people did not even understand what the Department of Cadastre was. My father told them he acted as a hidden force, donating food and medicine to the movement. The soldiers nevertheless told him to prepare his belongings and a lot of food, because everyone in the city of Phnom Penh must evacuate for three days or longer.

When the soldiers left my house, the youngest removed his gun into the air and screamed out to all the residents in the area to leave within the day. At that time my father’s face became dark and he did not utter a word. I felt like I had no weight because I witnessed tears on my parent’s faces staring at one another. My neighbors began to gradually leave their homes. Within four or five hours, the area around my house became silent and deserted. Once in a while I saw the soldiers dressed in black holding soda or liquor bottles. They drank and laughed, one hand grabbing a bottle of liquor and the other waving a gun shooting anything they pleased.

In the morning, my family left in one car. We traveled without any idea of where we were going. We just followed others. If people stopped to rest somewhere, we also stopped and rested with them. If soldiers dressed in black pointed guns at us and forced us to continue our journey, we would continue our journey. From the outskirts to the rural areas there were corpses along the road.

Because of the events that passed on 17 April 1975, my family and hundreds and thousands of other families were forced to separate from each other. Nearly 3 million people were killed without reason. Among those killed were my parents and my brother and sister. Hundreds and thousands of orphans were left without any understanding of why their parents were killed or why they cannot remember their parents’ faces. Among all these orphans, I am also one.

Sampeou

** After the collapse of the Khmer Rouge regime on 7 January 1979, more than two hundred thousands of children were left orphaned.

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Look at the Day the Khmer Rouge Took Power
Kong Sothanarith, VOA Khmer | Phnom Penh Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Photo: AP
A Khmer Rouge rebel frisks a civilian in downtown Phnom Penh hours after the rebel forces led by Pol Pot took control of the Cambodian capital April 17, 1975.

The Documentation Center of Cambodia is preparing a permanent exhibition of photographs marking the day the Khmer Rouge took over Phnom Penh and began their devastating four-year rule 36 years ago.

Chhang Youk, director of the center, said the exhibition, which opens next Monday, is to remind people of the beginning of the Khmer Rouge atrocities.

The exhibition showcases 17 rare photographs taken by American photographer Al Rockoff and French photographer Roland Neveu.

The center receives between 600 and 800 visitors each month, Chhang Youk said, and the exhibit is meant to be a discussion point that provides a look back at Phnom Penh.

In the exhibition, one can see victorious Khmer Rouge soldiers, Lon Nol troops protecting the evacuation of the US Embassy, Phnom Penh residents leaving the city, and a woman who weeps near her dead husband on the side of the road, among other images of the day.

April 17, 1975, is annually marked as the day the Khmer Rouge took over, instituting ultra-communist policies that lead to the deaths of up to 2.2 million people.

This year, a survivor of the Tuol Sleng prison commemorated the day with a ceremony there, while members of the opposition visited the mass graves of the Choeung Ek execution site outside the city.

“Any activity to remember this day is necessary,” said Dim Sovannarom, a spokesman for the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal. “And that’s why the [tribunal] is operational under its mission here to bring those responsible to trial.”

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Former Khmer Rouge Recalls Fall of Phnom Penh
Kong Sothanarith, VOA Khmer | Phnom Penh Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Photo: by Chun Sakada
Him Huy, 54, a former Khmer Rouge soldier.

On April 17, 1975, Him Huy, an 18-year-old soldier within the Khmer Rouge revolution, found himself on Road 24, passing Kandal province’s Sa’ang district as part of a concerted attack on the capital, Phnom Penh.

“That day, all units and divisions came from every side into Phnom Penh,” Him Huy told “Hello VOA” Monday, recalling the day 36 years later. “Heavy weapons and light weapons both were used by Khmer Rouge in the attack.”

By the end of the day, the city had fallen to the revolution, and Year Zero had begun. Him Huy, who led a group of 12 soldiers into the city for the attack, would find himself assigned to a former high school the Khmer Rouge turned into a prison, S-21, or Tuol Sleng.

More than 12,000 people were tortured there and sent for execution at the nearby killing field of Cheoung Ek. Last year the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal sentenced Duch, Him Huy’s supervisor, to a commuted 19 years in prison for crimes committed at the prison.

Now 54, Him Huy said Monday he had been recruited as a young man the year before the capital fell. He had joined, he said, to overthrow the US-backed regime of Marshall Lon Nol and to put Norodom Sihanouk back on the throne.

“Back then, people loved the king,” he said.

He’d rejoiced at the fall of Phnom Penh, he said.

“We knew that there would be no more war, and that we would not be killed,” he said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t know it had turned into a communist regime.”

The Khmer Rouge emptied the city, frightening residents by saying the US bombers were coming. “This is all that I knew,” he said.

In 1976 Him Huy was instated at the head of security guards at S-21, he said. He led arrests of “enemies” of the regime, he said, but it was Duch, or Kaing Kek Iev, who ordered their torture.

By that measure, he said, Duch deserved imprisonment of up to 40 years, with no deduction.

END.
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Dara Duong was born in 1971 in Battambang province, Cambodia. His life changed forever at age four, when the Khmer Rouge took over the country in 1975. During the regime that controlled Cambodia from 1975-1979, Dara’s father, grandparents, uncle and aunt were executed, along with almost 3 million other Cambodians. Dara’s mother managed to keep him and his brothers and sisters together and survive the years of the Khmer Rouge regime. However, when the Vietnamese liberated Cambodia, she did not want to live under Communist rule. She fled with her family to a refugee camp on the Cambodian-Thai border, where they lived for more than ten years. Since arriving in the United States, Dara’s goal has been to educate people about the rich Cambodian culture that the Khmer Rouge tried to destroy and about the genocide, so that the world will not stand by and allow such atrocities to occur again. Toward that end, he has created the Cambodian Cultural Museum and Killing Fields Memorial, which began in his garage and is now in White Center, Washington. Dara’s story is one of survival against enormous odds, one of perseverance, one of courage and hope.