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KR Tribunal clears Ao An: SCC ‘terminates’ crimes against humanity charges

Ben Sokhean / Khmer Times Share:
Ao An, former deputy secretary of the central zone in Democratic Kampuchea, has been cleared of crimes against humanity charges. ECCC

The Supreme Court Chamber of the UN-backed Khmer Rouge Tribunal on Monday “terminated” the case against former senior cadre Ao An after thirteen years of investigation into charges of crimes against humanity.

Ao An, known as “Ta An”, was a former Khmer Rouge deputy secretary of the Democratic Kampuchea regime’s Central Zone and Sector 41 secretary.

He was charged in 2015 with premeditated homicide and crimes against humanity.

In 2016, he was charged with additional crimes, including genocide.

In its statement issued on Monday, the Extraordinary    Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia said the Supreme Court Chamber, which has seven judges, had decided to terminate the case against An before the Extraordinary Chambers.

The Supreme Court Chamber considered that: “Notwithstanding the agreement in relation to the great number of victims in the central zone” of Democratic Kampuchea, “there was no agreement after thirteen years of investigation that Ao An was within the jurisdiction of the [ECCC]”.

It said the SCC addressed the arguments raised by the International Co-Prosecutor over the “Immediate Appeal of the Trial Chamber’s Effective Termination of Case 004/2”.

In dismissing the International Co-Prosecutor’s appeal, the SCC held that: “In the absence of a definite and enforceable indictment, the case against AO An is hereby terminated before the ECCC”.

The pre-trial chamber in December last year had issued a conflicting decision over the closing order in case 004/2.

The chamber at that time failed to reach a majority decision on whether An’s case falls under the court’s jurisdiction.

In August 2018, the co-investigating judges issued separate closing orders against An.

The national co-investigating judge issued a dismissal of the case, finding that An did not fall within the personal jurisdiction of the court.

However, the international co-investigating judge indicted him for genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the 1956 Cambodian Penal Code.

The differing closing orders prompted an appeal for the case to be re-heard and on June 19, 20 and 21 last year, the pre-trial chamber held a hearing in case 004/2 to hear the arguments of the parties.

ECCC spokesman Neth Peaktra said yesterday that: “The Decision from the Supreme Court chamber is not subject to appeal.” Mom Luch, a national lawyer for An, said yesterday that he was too busy to comment on the case.

However, An previously denied that he had committed crimes.

“I did not commit any serious crimes and I already informed my lawyers.

So, the accusation against me is wrong,” he said.

“We just did farming to solve the people’s livelihoods.” “They accused me of being a leader of the regime’s Central Zone but I was not.

I was only responsible for economic affairs and solved the people’s livelihoods,” he told Voice Of America.

“I was not the most senior leader or the most responsible person.” An allegedly committed various crimes against humanity are in many areas and sites, including at Anlong Chrey Dam Forced Labour Site, Kok Ring Execution Site, Met Sop Security Centre as well as Tuol Beng and Wat Angkuonh Dei Security Centres.

Ung Phuon, 73, a survivor of the Khmer Rouge regime from Kampong Chhnang province’s Rolea Bier district said yesterday that he had lost seven families members, including his parents during the nearly four years of Khmer Rouge rule.

Phuon who was also forced to marry by the regime said the current conviction of former top leaders are enough.

“They are very old men now, I don’t want to take any revenge, Let them face the karma for what they had committed,” he said.

“I consider what my family suffered during the Khmer Rouge era as our karma.” So far three of the regime’s leaders have been sentenced to life imprisonment by the court; they are Kaing Guek Eav, alias “Duch” who commanded the S-21, former head of state Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea, former deputy secretary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea.

Chea died on August 4 last year at the age 93, resulting in the Supreme Court Chamber of ECCC terminating proceedings against him.

The Special Panel of ECCC last month also “unanimously dismissed” Samphan’s application for disqualification of the six appeal judges who adjudicated in Case 002/01 over crimes against humanity.

 

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