On December 19, 2019, the Pre-Trial Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia issued a complex, 266-page ruling that failed to resolve the question of whether Case 004/02, with charges of genocide and crimes against humanity against Ao An, will proceed to trial.
The court failed to reach a binding decision on the core issue, which required a super-majority vote of four of the five judges.
The Chamber’s three Cambodian judges insist that the case be dismissed, and the two international judges maintain that the case be transferred immediately for trial on the charges in the indictment. It remains unclear if or how this case, or two similar ones against former Khmer Rouge leaders Meas Muth and Yim Tith, will now proceed.
The Open Society Justice Initiative’s recent developments report summarizes the main points in the Pre-Trial Chamber ruling, the latest step in a stand-off in which Cambodian judges on the tribunal have aligned themselves with the government’s view that second-tier Khmer Rouge leaders should not be subject to the jurisdiction of the UN-backed tribunal.
The ECCC was established in 2004 by a joint agreement between the United Nations and the government of Cambodia, and uses a mix of international and local judges and staff. It began proceedings in 2007.
The Open Society Justice Initiative has been monitoring the work of the tribunal since 2007, as part of its work to ensure accountability for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.