Introduction to the ECCC

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) is a special Cambodian court which recives international assistance through the United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials (UNAKRT). The court is more commonly referred to by the more informal name the Khmer Rouge Tribunal or the Cambodia Tribunal.

The Khmer Rouge regime took power on 17 April 1975 and was overthrown on 7 January 1979. At least 1.7 million people are believed to have died from starvation, torture, execution and forced labour during this period of 3 years, 8 months and 20 days. The end of Khmer Rouge period was followed by a civil war. That war finally ended in 1998, when the Khmer Rouge political and military structures were dismantled.

In 1997, the government requested the United Nations (UN) to assist in establishing a trial to prosecute the senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge. In 2001, the Cambodian National Assembly passed a law to create a court to try serious crimes committed during the Khmer Rouge regime 1975-1979. This court is called the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia for the Prosecution of Crimes Committed during the Period of Democratic Kampuchea (Extraordinary Chambers or ECCC). The government of Cambodia insisted that, for the sake of the Cambodian people, the trial must be held in Cambodia using Cambodian staff and judges together with foreign personnel. Cambodia invited international participation due to the weakness of the Cambodian legal system and the international nature of the crimes, and to help in meeting international standards of justice.

An agreement with the UN was ultimately reached in June 2003 detailing how the international community will assist and participate in the Extraordinary Chambers. This special new court was created by the government and the UN but it will be independent of them. It is a Cambodian court with international participation that will apply international standards. 

See: Timeline of key events


The court can only prosecute two categories of alleged perpetrators for alleged crimes committed between 17 April 1975 and 6 January 1979:
1) Senior leaders of Democratic Kampuchea; and
2) Those believed to be most responsible for grave violations of national and international law.

The ECCC is currently handling four cases:

Case 001:
Defendant: Kaing Guek Eav alias Duch

Case 002:
Defendants: Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary (deceased) , Nuon Chea, Ieng Thirith (deceased)

Case 003: 
Defendant: Meas Muth

Case 004:
Defendants:  Im Chaem (Case 004/01), Yim Tith (Case 004), Ao An (Case 004/02)

This website is to introduce you to the Extraordinary Chambers and answer some of the questions people commonly ask about the trials. Please contact the Public Affairs Section if you need more specific information or would like to arrange a visit to the ECCC.

ECCC Organisation

ECCC Emblem


The emblem represents the Extraordinary Chambers by combining a depiction of the administration of Cambodian justice during the ancient period of Angkor with the United Nations' wreath of olive branches symbolising peace. The official colour is dark blue. 

The figure is seated on a dais and is holding a sword to symbolise the authority of the court. This is the central figure in the mural in the former Appeals Court in the Ministry of Justice in Phnom Penh, where he is flanked by two assistants referring to the law as inscribed on palm-leaf manuscripts. 
The official stamp shows the emblem surrounded by two circles in which is written in the Khmer the full name of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, together with the abbreviations ECCC for the English name and CETC for the French name (Chambres Extraordinaires au sein des Tribunaux Cambodgiens).

ECCC Explained in 7 minutes

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