22 March 2018

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12/12/2005 CAMBODIA

Offices for Killing Fields trials set to open soon

They will be under way  between the end of January and the beginning of February; international and Cambodian judges will preside

Phnom Penh (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Genocide trials of Khmer Rouge leaders responsible for an estimated 1.7 million deaths moved a big step closer yesterday as Cambodia and the United Nations said they would set up offices next month to prepare them.

A shortlist of Cambodian and international judges and prosecutors to conduct the trials would be announced this month, Sean Visoth, who will head the Cambodian team, said with UN official Michelle Lee at his side.

"Mrs Lee will come back and we will have her office of administration fully operational in January," he said.

The tribunals, which will have international judges and prosecutors working alongside Cambodian colleagues, are estimated to cost US million over three years.

"We have been working very hard in this process and we are very hopeful that we will be on the ground operating by either the end of January or the beginning of February," Mrs Lee said.

"We are even more hopeful that the Cambodian people will see this as progress towards achieving the justice which is really long overdue."

An estimated one-third of the country's population died of starvation, forced labour, disease or execution during the Khmer Rouge "Killing Fields" from 1975 to 1979, when the regime was toppled by Vietnamese troops. Almost every single Cambodian family lost relatives.

But no Khmer Rouge leader has faced justice for the atrocities and critics fear many of them will die before the legal process ends.

Two Khmer Rouge leaders have been detained - Ta Mok, the one-legged Khmer Rouge military chief who is now 78, and Duch, 59, the head of the Tuol Sleng interrogation centre from which few prisoners emerged alive. Duch's real name is Kang Kek Ieu.

They were charged in March with war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.

See also

08/03/2007 CAMBODIA
How to “save” the Khmer Rouge trials
Cambodians and international judges hold talks on how to avoid the possible collapse of trails against the Khmer Rouge. After a series of delays the aim is to begin procedures before ageing witnesses and accused die.

30/07/2014 CAMBODIA
Cambodia's last living Khmer Rouge start second trial
In order to speed up procedures, the UN Special Court has decided to split proceedings against Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea, the last two leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime still alive. The crimes date back to the period 1975-1979. The verdict for the trial of crimes against humanity is expected next 7 August.

01/03/2006 CAMBODIA
Khmer Rouge crimes to be tried in a year

Between 1975 and 1979, the Khmer Rouge of Pol Pot killed two million people. Some Cambodians are for their trial. A well known psychiatrist counters: "I am worried the trials will reopen the wounds of torture victims."

06/05/2011 CAMBODIA
Study the Khmer Rouges to avoid the same mistakes, young Cambodian woman says
A young woman writes a letter to a newspaper, saying that the country’s history includes both the “marvellous period” of Angkor and the hellish nightmare of Pol Pot’s regime. For many others, the country’s recent history is painful, useless and better left forgotten. Activists warn that UN trials of Khmer Rouge officials are at risk.

18/04/2006 CAMBODIA
Khmer Rouge victims call for justice

To mark the 31st anniversary of Pol Pot's takeover of power, around 200 people gathered in Choeung Ek, where an estimated 9,000 people were executed. They appealed for the trials of former Khmer Rouge leaders to start as soon as possible.

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