ECCC Reparations

This blog is designed to serve as a repository of analyses, news reports and press releases related to the issue of RERAPATIONS within the framework of the Extraordinary Chambers in Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), a.k.a. the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

ECCC ends ban on communication among defendants in pretrial detention

ECCC ends ban on communication among defendants in pretrial detention

Benjamin Klein at 11:27 AM ET
[JURIST] The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website; JURIST news archive] last Friday ended [decision, PDF] the segregation of five defendants currently in pretrial detention. The decision, released to the public on Wednesday, was a response to an appeal filed by defendant Nuon Chea [PBS backgrounder; JURIST news archive], who argued that the prison conditions were too restrictive. In May 2008, the Pre-Trial Chamber approved the “strict separation between the detainees,” taking away “the right to communicate among themselves.” The judges at that time relied on ECCC Internal Rule 55 [text, PDF], which gives judges the jurisdiction to limit contact between the detainees in the interest of the investigation. They also cited the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website; JURIST news archive] holding in Prosecutor v. Katanga and Chui, where the ICC ruled:
[Measures] to restrict the communication and the contact...constitute an important restriction of the rights provided for by the detention regime set forth in the Regulations and the RoR [Regulations of the Registry], and therefore they can be imposed if the requirements of necessity and proportionality are met.In overturning the segregation order, the Pre-Trial Chamber found that the “potential for prejudicial collusion” was now negligible, and “that there can be no reason related to investigation purposes justifying that contacts between [Chea and the four others] be restricted.” The Phnom Penh Post has more. The ECCC was established by law [text as amended 2004, PDF] in 2001 to investigate and try surviving Khmer Rouge officials. The Khmer Rouge is generally believed to be responsible for the genocide of an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians [PPU backgrounder] between 1975 and 1979. No top Khmer Rouge officials have yet faced trial. In August 2007, the ECCC brought its first charges against Kaing Khek Iev [TrialWatch profile; JURIST report], who was in charge of the notorious S-21 prison in Phnom Penh. Former Khmer Rouge official Nuon Chea is awaiting trial [JURIST report] for charges [statement, PDF] of war crimes and crimes against humanity.


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