Stephen J. Rapp, U.S. Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues, announced today the delivery of $1.65 million to support the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), also known as the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. This is the first of three installments of a projected contribution of $5 million during the current fiscal year to fund the international portion of the tribunal's staff and operations.
This donation comes as the ECCC begins the trial of its Case 002 in which the most senior surviving members of the Khmer Rouge government stand accused of crimes that resulted in the deaths of 1.9 million people between 1975 and 1979. “Given the gravity of the alleged crimes and the level of defendants, this is now the most important trial in the world,” said Ambassador Rapp.
The ECCC Trial Chamber began hearings on legal and procedural issues in the trial of Case 002 in June 2011. It is expected to begin hearing witness testimony in November 2011. In July 2010 it rendered judgment in Case 001, finding Kaing Guek Eav, a/k/a Duch, guilty of crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, and sentenced him to 35 years in prison. Among other crimes for which he was convicted, Duch acknowledged involvement in the executions of over 12,000 prisoners. Both Duch and the prosecution have appealed the trial judgment and the Supreme Court Chamber is expected to render its decision in December 2011. The International Co-Prosecutor has requested investigations of five additional suspects, and proceedings in these matters, known as Cases 003 and 004, are before the Co-Investigative Judges and Pre-Trial Chamber.
“The United States has been a strong supporter of efforts to bring to justice senior leaders and those most responsible for the atrocities committed under the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia,” said Ambassador Rapp. “For the sake of the victims of these crimes, it is essential that proceedings in all matters over which that tribunal has jurisdiction be conducted fairly, expeditiously, and independently.” The United States calls upon all interested parties to publicly re-affirm their support for the Tribunal’s independence and judicial integrity, free from outside interference of any kind.
The U.S. contributed almost $2 million to the ECCC in fiscal year 2008 funding and $5 million in fiscal year 2010 funding. The installment announced today is a part of the projected $5 million in fiscal year 2011 funding.