Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia: Chronology

Current

3 December 2007: The Pre-Trial Chamber unanimously affirms the decision of the Co-Investigating Judges to dismiss the appeal by Kaing Guek Eav (Duch) against the Order for Provisional Detention.

28 November 2007: The Pre-Trial Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers invites amicus curiae briefs relating to the appeal by Nuon Chea against the Order of Provisional Detention by the Co-Investigating Judges.

19 November 2007: The Co-Investigating Judges charge Khieu Samphan with Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes. Following an adversarial hearing, the Co-Investigating Judges place Samphan in Provisional Detention for no longer than a year.

14 November 2007: The Co-Investigating Judges order that Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith be placed in provisional detention for a period not exceeding one year.

12 November 2007: Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith are arrested and charged with crimes against humanity. Ieng Sary is also charged with war crimes.

19 September 2007: Nuon Chea, the highest-ranking surviving leader of the Khmer Rouge, is arrested and charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes.

4 September 2007: The Pre-Trial Chamber invites amicus curiae briefs relating to the appeal on behalf of Mr. Kaing Guek Eav (alias Duch) regarding the order of Provisional Detention issued on 31 July 2007.

23 August 2007: Co-counsel for Mr. Kaing Guek Eav (alias Duch) lodge an appeal against the Order of Provisional Detention issued on 31 July 2007.

31 July 2007: Mr. Kaing Guek Eav (alias Duch) is charged by the Co-Investigating Judges of the Extraordinary Chambers with crimes against humanity and is placed in provisional detention.

13 June 2007: The plenary session of national and international judicial officers concludes its meeting, unanimously agreeing on the Internal Rules that will govern the procedure of the Extraordinary Chambers.

28 April 2007: The Cambodian Bar Association agrees to lower fees for foreign lawyers practicing before the ECCC. The Bar is now asking that foreign lawyers pay $500 to practice over the entire length of the trials, a compromise expected to assuage international judges, who threatened a boycott against "extortionate" fees.

16 March 2007: The Review Committee concludes a ten-day session during which it reportedly resolved “all remaining disagreements [regarding the Internal Rules], although some fine tuning remains to be done.” Additionally, the international judges have asked the Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia to reconsider its decision to impose a fee on foreign lawyers practicing before the ECCC that the judges believe would severely limit the right of accused and victims to select counsel of their choice.

7 March 2007:  The Internal Rules Review Committee begins two weeks of renewed discussions on the draft Internal Rules of the Court.

26 January 2007: The Internal Rules Review Committee concludes a two-week session, during which it considered issues of disagreement that arose during the November plenary session. The Committee reports that while resolution was reached on some issues, several major issues have yet to be resolved, “such as the way in which Cambodian and international law can be integrated into the Internal Rules to ensure a transparent and fair registration process and full rights of audience for foreign defence counsel before the ECCC.”  The Committee is scheduled to reconvene in March.

15 January 2007: The Rules Committee, made up of five Cambodian and four international judges, resumes discussions on the Court’s internal rules.  

25 November 2006:  In a joint statement, the national and international judges report that they are unable to agree on a set of Internal Rules to govern the procedure of the Extraordinary Chambers. The statement cites “substantive disagreement” over key issues including the integration of international legal standards and Cambodian law, the role of the Defence Support Unit, the role of the Co-Prosecutors, and how the Chambers will operate within the Cambodian domestic court structure. Only a third of the rules presented for review were discussed by the judges, leaving core issues such as the right to victim participation still to be addressed. The statement emphasizes the Chambers’ commitment to moving forward with discussion of the Internal Rules and to beginning trials in 2007.

24 November 2006:  The Defense Office of the ECCC and the International Bar Association (IBA) cancel a training program on international criminal law for Cambodian lawyers seeking to take part in ECCC proceedings after the Cambodian Bar Association (CBA) issues instructions forbidding Cambodian lawyers from attending and threatens that that ‘measures’ will be taken against international participants. Ky Tech, president of CBA, reportedly objects to the creation of a defence unit within the ECCC on the ground that under Cambodian law the CBA is the only body authorized to regulate legal professionals practicing in Cambodia.

20 November 2006: The national and international judges convene a plenary session in Phnom Penh to discuss the draft Internal Rules of the ECCC. The 110 proposed rules were drafted by the Committee on Rules and Procedure, composed of three national judges and two international judges, and reviewed in advance of the session by the Co-Prosecutors, the Principle Defender, the Office of Administration, and interested individuals and organizations. The plenary session is expected to last for a week.

21 July 2006: Ung Chheun, also known as Ta Mok, dies at the age of 80. Ta Mok was a military commander of the Khmer Rouge. He had been in military detention since March 1999, when the government of Cambodia indicted him for crimes against domestic security and genocide. Each year since then the government has renewed his detaining order in apparent anticipation of his prosecution in the Extraordinary Chambers.

10 July 2006: Cambodian co-prosecutor, Chea Leang, and international co-prosecutor, Robert Petit of Canada, begin their formal investigation into crimes falling within the jurisdiction of the ECCC.

3 July 2006: Cambodian and international judges and prosecutors are sworn in during a ceremony at Phnom Penh's Silver Pagoda in the royal palace. Trial chamber judge Sylvia Cartwright and reserve co-prosecutor Paul Coffey are reportedly unable to attend the ceremony. Reserve judges Claudia Fenz and Martin Karopkin will only take an oath if they are called into duty from reserve status.

7 May 2006: By Royal Decree NS/RKT/0506/214, King Norodom Sihamoni appoints 17 national and 12 international judges and prosecutors to serve on the Extraordinary Chambers. Those appointed were selected by the Cambodian Supreme Council of the Magistracy on May 4, 2006. According to the government, in making its selection, “the Supreme Council of the Magistracy followed guidelines for interpreting and applying these mandatory criteria [in Establishment Law Article 10 new] – such as seeking a balance between experience and formal education. In addition, they took into account a number of desirable criteria, namely language ability, gender and ethnic representation, ability to operate in a modern court environment and inter-cultural sensitivity.” By position, those appointed are:

  • Trial Chamber judges: Mr. Nil Nonn (Cambodia), Mr. Thou Mony (Cambodia), Mr. Ya Sokhan (Cambodia), Ms. Silvia Cartwright (New Zealand), Mr. Jean-Marc Lavergne (France). Reserve judges in the Trial Chamber: Mr. You Ottara (Cambodia), Ms. Claudia Fenz (Austria).
  • Supreme Court Chamber judges: H.E. Kong Srim (Cambodia), Mr. Som Sereyvuth (Cambodia), Mr. Sin Rith (Cambodia), Mr. Ya Narin (Cambodia), Mr. Motoo Noguchi (Japan) Ms. Agnieszka Klonowiecka-Milart (Poland), Mr. Chandra Nihal Jayasinghe (Sri Lanka). Reserve judges in the Supreme Court Chamber: Mr. Mong Monichariya (Cambodia), and Mr. Martin Karopkin (USA).
  • Co-investigating judges: Mr. You Bun Leng (Cambodia), Marcel Lemonde (France). Reserve co-investigating judges: Mr. Thong Ol (Cambodia), and an international judge (to be announced).
  • Co-prosecutors: Ms. Chea Leang (Cambodia), Mr. Robert Petit (Canada). Reserve co-prosecutors: H.E. Chuon Sun Leng (Cambodia), Mr. Paul Coffey (USA).
  • Pre-Trial Chamber judges: H.E. Prak Kimsan (Cambodia), H.E. Ney Thol (Cambodia), Mr. Hout Vuthy (Cambodia), Mr. Rowan Downing (Australia), Ms. Katinka Lahuis (Netherlands). Reserve judges in the Pre-Trial Chamber: Mr. Pen Pichsaly (Cambodia).

8 March 2006: UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan submits a list of international candidates for judges and other judicial personnel to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen:

  • The candidates for judge are Silvia Cartwright (New Zealand), Claudia Fenz (Austria), Chandra Nihal Jayasinghe (Sri Lanka), Martin Karopkin (US), Agnieszka Klonowiecka-Milart (Poland), Jean-Marc Lavergne (France), and Moto Noguchi (Japan). From the list of seven nominees, the Cambodian Supreme Council of Magistracy will choose two judges for the trial chamber and three judges for the appeals chamber. The remaining two will serve as reserve judges.
  • For the co-investigating judge position the UN submitted Marcel Lemonde (France), and will submit an additional candidate. The Cambodian Supreme Council of Magistracy will choose one and the other will serve as reserve.
  • For the position of co-prosecutor, the UN submitted Paul Coffey (US) and Robert Petit (Canada). The Cambodian Supreme Council of Magistracy will choose one and the other will serve as reserve.
  • The UN also submitted Rowan Downing (Australia) and Katinka Lahuis (Netherlands), as pre-trial judges, both of whom would serve if the pre-trial chamber is required to convene.

28 February 2006: An investigating judge of the Cambodian Military Court orders the continued detention of Ta Mok and Duch under the 2001 Law on the Establishment of the Extraordinary Chambers, as amended in 2004, for war crimes and crimes against internationally protected persons.

9 February 2006: Sean Visoth, Director of the Office of Administration, and Michelle Lee, Deputy Director, issue a joint statement announcing the official establishment of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.

4 February 2006: Michelle Lee, international deputy director of the Office of Administration of the Extraordinary Chambers, arrives in Cambodia to take up residence in preparation for the start up of the Court.

18 January 2006: Two buildings of the High Command Headquarters of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces at Kambol outside Phnom Penh are handed over to the Royal Government Task Force for use as the premises of the Extraordinary Chambers.

25 November 2005: The Cambodian Office of the Council of Ministers announces that Sean Visoth has been appointed director of the Office of Administration of the Extraordinary Chambers. Visoth has held a number of senior administrative posts in the Cambodian government, including in the Office of the Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Supreme National Council. Since 1999, he has been executive secretary of the Cambodian Government Task Force for Cooperation with Foreign Legal Experts for the Preparation of the Proceedings for the Trial of Khmer Rouge Criminals.

23 November 2005: The United Nations announces a short list of individuals whom the Secretary-General is inviting to interview in December 2005 for appointment as the international staff of the Extraordinary Chambers:

  • For the position of international judge: Silvia Cartwright, Rowan Downing, Claudia Fenz, Chandra Jayasinghe, Martin Karopkin, Agnieszka Klonowiecka-Milart, Jean-Marc Lavergne, Fred McElrea, Adel Ibrahim Maged, Motoo Noguchi, and Robert Spear.
  • For the position of international co-investigating judge: Abdulkadir Kaya, Agnieszka Klonowiecka-Milart, and Marcel Lemonde.
  • For the position of international co-prosecutor: Maria Benedetti, Charles Caruso, Paul Coffey, Dermot Groome, Robert Petit, and Jude Romano.

25 August 2005: The United Nations announces that Michelle Lee of China will serve as the international deputy director of the Office of Administration of the Extraordinary Chambers, effective September 1, 2005. Lee joined the UN in 1974 and has been in charge of administrative support services at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda since July 2003. She is the first named employee of the Chambers.

15 August 2005: Prime Minister Hun Sen warns that Cambodia will be unable to pay its portion of the cost of establishing the Extraordinary Chambers without the assistance of international donors.

30 June 2005: The UN Secretariat sends a letter to member countries asking them to submit the names of international judges and prosecutors they would like to see nominated to the Extraordinary Chambers. Nominations for the positions are to be submitted by August 29, 2005.

29 April 2005: The framework Agreement between the United Nations and Cambodia enters into force. The United Nations announces that states have provided sufficient pledges toward the UN portion of the Chambers' budget for their establishment to proceed. The UN is responsible for $ 43 million of a total three-year budget of $ 56.3 million. The remaining $ 13.3 million is to be paid by the Cambodian government.

28 April 2005: The UN Secretary-General informs Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen that the legal requirements on the UN side have been met for entry into force of the framework agreement between the UN and Cambodia.

28 February 2005: An investigating judge of the Cambodian Military Court orders the continued detention of Ta Mok under the 2001 Law on the Establishment of the Extraordinary Chambers, as amended in 2004, for war crimes and crimes against internationally protected persons.

22 February 2005: An investigating judge of the Cambodian Military Court orders the continued detention of Duch under the 2001 Law on the Establishment of the Extraordinary Chambers, as amended in 2004, for war crimes and crimes against internationally protected persons.

16 November 2004: The Cambodian government announces that the legal requirements on the Cambodian side have been met for entry into force of the framework Agreement between the UN and Cambodia.

27 October 2004: The Cambodian government promulgates the amended Law on the Establishment of the Extraordinary Chambers, which is intended to implement the framework agreement between Cambodia and the United Nations.

19 October 2004: Cambodia ratifies the framework agreement on the Extraordinary Chambers negotiated between the Cambodian government and the UN.

22 February 2004: An investigating judge of the Cambodian Military Court orders the continued detention of Ta Mok and Duch under the 2001 Law on the Establishment of the Extraordinary Chambers for crimes against humanity.

6 June 2003: The Cambodian government and the UN sign a framework agreement providing "the legal basis and the principle and modalities" for cooperation in creating the Extraordinary Chambers. It is to be "implemented in Cambodia through the Law on the Establishment of the Extraordinary Chambers as adopted and amended."

23 February 2003: The UN General Assembly adopts resolution 57/228, requesting the Secretary-General "to resume negotiations, without delay, to conclude an agreement with the Government of Cambodia, based on previous negotiations on the establishment of the Extraordinary Chambers . . . ."

22 February 2003: An investigating judge of the Cambodian Military Court orders the continued detention of Ta Mok and Duch under the 2001 Law on the Establishment of the Extraordinary Chambers for crimes against humanity.

22 February 2002: An investigating judge of the Cambodian Military Court orders the continued detention of Ta Mok and Duch under the 2001 Law on the Establishment of the Extraordinary Chambers for crimes against humanity.

8 February 2002: The UN Secretary-General ends negotiations with the Cambodian government on the establishment of the Extraordinary Chambers. Two reasons are provided at the UN daily press briefing. First, "the United Nations has concluded that as currently envisaged, the Cambodian court would not guarantee independence, impartiality and objectivity, which are required by the United Nations for it to cooperate with such a court." Second, "the [Cambodian] Government rejected the United Nations proposal that the assistance that the United Nations would provide will be governed by the agreement between the United Nations and Cambodia" and "insists that only its own rules would govern such assistance."

10 October 2001: UN Under Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Hans Corell sends a letter to the Cambodian government outlining UN concerns with provisions of the Cambodian Extraordinary Chambers Law, including those related to the court's structure, the right to free choice of counsel, the ability of the government to authorize amnesty or pardon, and the immunity of Chambers' personnel.

10 August 2001: The "Law on the Establishment of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia for the Prosecution of Crimes Committed during the Period of Democratic Kampuchea" enters into force in Cambodia.

6 September 1999: Ta Mok and Duch are indicted by a prosecutor of the Cambodian Military Court for the crime of genocide under "Decree-Law 1 on Punishment for Treason and Other Offenses against the People's Revolution." The prosecutor requests their temporary detention.

July 1999: Negotiations begin between the Cambodian government and the United Nations on the makeup of the proposed tribunal.

17 June 1999: Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen requests the assistance of UN experts in drafting a Cambodian law providing for international personnel to participate in a Cambodian national tribunal.

10 May 1999: Kaing Khek Iev (known as "Duch"), former director of the Tuol Sleng Security Prison during the Khmer Rouge regime, is indicted by a prosecutor of the Cambodian Military Court under the "Law to Outlaw the Democratic Kampuchea" and "Decree-Law 2 Against Betraying the Revolution and Other Offenses" "for crimes against domestic security with the intention of serving the policies of the Democratic Kampuchea group, committed in Cambodia during the period of 1975 to 1999." The prosecutor also requests his detention.

16 March 1999: The UN Secretary General submits the report of the Group of Experts to the General Assembly and the Security Council. The report recommends that the Security Counsel establish an ad hoc international criminal tribunal to try Khmer Rouge officials for serious crimes under both international and Cambodian law.

9 March 1999: Ung Choeun (known as "Ta Mok"), former Chief of the South-western and Northern Zones during the Khmer Rouge regime, is indicted by a prosecutor of the Cambodian Military Court under the "Law to Outlaw the Democratic Kampuchea" "for crimes against domestic security with the intention of serving the policies of the Democratic Kampuchea group, committed in Cambodia during the period of 1975 to 1999." The prosecutor also requests his temporary detention.

31 July 1998: The UN Secretary-General appoints a three-member Group of Experts to "determine the nature of the crimes committed by the Khmer Rouge leaders in the years 1975-1979," "to assess . . . the feasibility of bringing Khmer Rouge leaders to justice" and "to explore options for bringing to justice Khmer Rouge leaders before an international or national jurisdiction."

21 June 1997: Cambodian Co-Prime Ministers Hun Sen and Prince Rannaridh send a joint letter to the UN Secretary-General requesting the assistance of the United Nations "in bringing to justice those persons responsible for the genocide and crimes against humanity during the rule of the Khmer Rouge from 1975 to 1979.