BANGKOK – The International court of Cambodia charged former navy chief of the Khmer Rouge regime with genocide and crimes against humanity, despite opposition from domestic prosecutors, the court reported Thursday.
Meas Muth’s is the third case in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), the UN-sanctioned court composed of international and Cambodian legal representatives.
The statement said the international prosecution considered there was enough ground to charge Meas Muth with genocide against the Vietnamese minority, killings, slavery, imprisonment, torture and persecution.
International prosecutor Nicholas Koumjian argued that the case fell within the jurisdiction of the court, which is limited to trying leaders, who were responsible for causing the deaths of at least 1.7 million Cambodians between 1975 and 1979.
This limited jurisdiction and mixed nature of the court was decided during negotiations between the United Nations and the Cambodian government for the setting up of the court, which became operational in 2006.
Cambodian prosecutor Chea Leang presented a separate report arguing that the case was outside the jurisdiction of the international court.
Meas Muth is one of the four intermediate leaders of the Khmer Rouge tried in cases 3 and 4, in which Ta An, a military chief, Im Chaem, former head of a district, and Yim Tith, secretary of the organization in the northwest, have also been implicated.
The court is currently addressing the second part of case 2, in which the regime’s ideologist Nuon Chea and former Head of State Khieu Samphan are being tried.
The international court had passed its first sentence in 2010 against Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, who managed the detention and torture of around 12,000 people in the S-21 prison.
Duch was initially sentenced to 35 years in prison, but the judgement was later changed to life imprisonment.