Starting from 7 September 2015, the Trial Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) will for the first time hear evidence related to charges of genocide when the trial in Case 002/02 against Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea moves to the next trial sequence which focuses on allegations related to the treatment of the Cham group. Fourteen witnesses, Civil Parties and one expert are scheduled to testify during this part of the trial.
The Cham are an ethnic minority within Cambodia who share a common language, a common culture and Islam as a common religion. According to the Closing Order, people who belonged to the Cham group were systematically killed and the Communist Party of Kampuchea implemented a policy to destroy, in whole or in part the Cham group as such. The Closing Order states that the Cham were systematically and methodically targeted and killed on account of their membership of the Cham group and forcibly moved and dispersed into Khmer villages and prohibited from practicing their religion. Cham religious leaders and elders and those who continued to practice their religion were imprisoned and killed. Cham culture, language and dress were further prohibited according to the Closing Order. The Closing Order points to evidence that 36 per cent of the Cham people in Cambodia died during the regime of Democratic Kampuchea. The Closing Order alleges that Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea through their various roles within the Communist Party of Kampuchea bear individual criminal responsibility for the crimes committed against the Cham group.
Case 002/02 is the second trial against Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea and includes charges of genocide against the Cham and Vietnamese, forced marriages and rape, internal purges, alleged crimes committed against Buddhists and former Khmer Republic officials and crimes allegedly committed at four security centers, three worksites and one group of work cooperatives. As it starts this third trial topic, the Chamber has to date completed hearings on cooperatives and three worksites with the testimonies of 65 individuals: 39 witnesses, 25 Civil Parties, and 1 expert over the course of 98 hearing days.
More information on the allegations related to the treatment of the Cham is available on the ECCC website: http://www.eccc.gov.kh/en/crime-sites/treatment-cham
Videos and transcripts from Case 002/02 trial hearings: http://www.eccc.gov.kh/en/case-002-02/hearings