Another Batch of 5?
The ECCC Co-Prosecutors (CPs) have been rumored to be considering and possibly preparing introductory submissions of the charges of another set of suspects. So far neither of the Co-Prosecutors has confirmed that such submissions are indeed being contemplated, nor has the new number of suspects been announced, as of yet.
Early signs of this possibility appeared in the International Co-Prosecutor's, Robert Petit, interview with the Phnom Penh Post about a year ago in which Petit said that the Office of the Co-Prosecutors (OCP) would follow the evidence without paying much heed to other considerations.
If the CPs do decide to initiate other cases than the existing five, they will simply have to convince the judicial brass of the Court that the new suspects fall under the definition of "senior leaders and those most responsible". The term "senior leaders" is very narrow which gives the prosecution little wiggle room. Conversely, the term "those most responsible" seems far more elastic and can potentially be stretched to any point to which the Co-Prosecutors' skills of legal arguments and the judges' willingness to entertain them will allow. There is another problem with the new suspects which is that of time and money. This Court, however, has re-interpreted its temporal mandate a couple times in the past almost three years and will doubtless do it again as it is not in any of the Court's numerous employees' best interest to stick to the current schedule. Nor is it of interest to the judges who are also employees of the Court and enjoy favorable terms of service. Money is a different issue. However, after some feathers were ruffled by the Open Society Institute (OSI)'s monitoring project, the donors seem to have gotten over the corruption issues and generally come around which is evident from the most recent injections into the budget of the Court. Now that too much money has already been spent on the Court, the donors are unlikely to balk at the new batch of suspects and will continue funding this protracted effort.
The only remaining concern is the Cambodian government which might not wish to see some or any of the new suspects in the dock and which, some fear, might interfere with the process. This, however, remains to be seen and will be evident from whether the Cambodian Co-Prosecutor gives her consent to the new introductory submissions. If she withholds her consent, the International Co-Prosecutor will be able to submit this disagreement for arbitration to the PTC (he will technically have to go through the Office of Administration but that is merely a matter of yet another inexplicable statutory formality). The PTC's ruling on the matter is not subject to appeal in which case the Chamber will keep its place in the spotlight.