Khieu Samphan

Khieu Samphan received a bursary to study in France in 1955 and published his doctoral dissertation “Cambodia's economy and industrial development”.

Upon his return to Cambodia, Khieu Samphan became a professor before being appointed Secretary of State for Trade in Sihanouk’s regime in 1962.

Under threat from Sihanouk’s security forces, he allegedly went into hiding in 1967 and reemerged within the Khmer Rouge resistance in the early 1970s.

In 1976 he was appointed Democratic Kampuchea’s Head of State. He succeeded Pol Pot after the latter retired as the official head of the Khmer Rouge in 1987, and represented Democratic Kampuchea at the 1989 International Conference on Cambodia in Paris.

After pledging allegiance to the Cambodian government in 1998, he left the Khmer Rouge and lived in the north-western province of Pailin until being arrested in placed in provisional detention at the ECCC in November 2007.


Date of Birth
Place of Birth
Svay Rieng
Arrested Date
Defence counsel
Mr. Kong Sam Onn (Cambodia), Mr. Arthur Vercken (France), Ms. Anta Guisse (France)
Position in Democratic Kampuchea

Head of State (Chairman of the State Presidium) of Democratic Kampuchea.

Status of case

Khieu Samphan has been indicted and sent to trial for Crimes against Humanity, Grave Breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Genocide, offences which are defined and punishable under Articles 4,5, 6, 29 (New) and 39 (New) of the Law on the Establishment of the Extraordinary Chambers as amended on 27 October 2004.

The charges against Khieu Samphan have been separated (severed) into two trials (Case 002/01 and case 002/02).

The initial hearing in the trial was held 27-30 June 2011, and the substantive part of the trial in Case 002/01 commenced with opening statements on 21 November 2011, and ended with final statements on 31 October 2013. The trial judgment was pronounced on 7 August 2014.

Khieu Samphan was found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life imprisonment. On 23 November 2016, the Supreme Court Chamber quashed part of the convictions but affirmed life imprisonment for Khieu Samphan in Case 002/01. 

Trial hearings in Case 002/02 commenced on 17 October 2014. The presentation of evidence started on 8 January 2015 and concluded on 11 January 2017.

Closing statements were held from 13 -23 June 2017. The trial judgment in Case 002/02 is expected in the second quarter of 2018. 

Key allegations

Khieu Samphan is alleged to be responsible, through his acts or omissions (committed via a joint criminal enterprise), for having planned, instigated, ordered, or aided and abetted, or being responsible by virtue of superior responsibility, for the following crimes committed between 17 April 1975 and 6 January 1979: 

  • Crimes against humanity (murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation imprisonment, torture, persecution on political, racial, and religious grounds and other inhumane acts)
  • Genocide, by killing members of the groups of Vietnamese and Cham 
  • Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 (wilful killing, torture or inhumane treatment, wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, wilfully depriving a prisoner of war or civilian the rights of fair and regular trial, unlawful deportation or unlawful confinement of a civilian)
Case No. Case 002Case 002/01Case 002/02
Order Assigning Experts to Assess the Accused's Fitness to Stand Trial and Scheduling Assessment E460
Memorandum Responding to the Lead Co-Lawyers' Request for Guidance Regarding Additional Funding and Activities for Certain Reparation Projects E457/6/2/5
Civil Party Lead Co-Lawyers' Supplemental Submission on Funding Issues Related to Reparation Projects in Case 002/02 and Request for Guidance with Confidential Annexes E457/6/2/4
Transcript of hearing on the substance in Case 002/02 - 15 December 2016 E1/514.1
Decision on the Admission into Evidence of the Choeung Ek Study Documents E404/9
Trial Chamber Memorandum Entitled “Closing Briefs, SCC judgement in Case 002/01 and TMM” E449
Trial Chamber Memorandum Entitled “Decision on Reiterated Request of KHIEU Samphan Defence to Hear Stephen HEDER (2-TCE-87) and François PONCHAUD (2-TCE-99) (E408/6) E408/6/2
Co-Prosecutors’ Response to Civil Party Lead Co-Lawyers’ Immediate Appeal Against Trial Chamber Decision regarding Rape Outside the Context of Forced Marriage E306/7/3/1/3
Civil party lead co-lawyers’ immediate appeal against trial Chamber decision on request for confirmation of scope of the Charges of rape outside the context of forced E421/5/3/1/1
Trial Chamber Memorandum Entitled “Order scheduling cognitive testing of the accused” E389/5/1
Transcript of hearing on the substance in Case 002/02 - 26 January 2016 E1/382.1
[Corrected 1] Decision on requests regarding internal rule 87 (4) deadlines E421/4
Request for correction document number E421/3 E421/3/Corr-1
Co-prosecutors’ response to civil party lead co-lawyers’ request forclarification relating to remaining charges in case 002 439/3
Trial Chamber Memorandum Entitled “Decision on KHIEU Samphan’s Rule 87(4) request to admit into evidence documents related to the testimony of exper Heneri Locard )2-TCE-90) ” E415/4/1
Co-Prosecutors’ Rule 87(4) Application In Response To E327/4/5 E327/4/5/1
Decision on the Request for Leave to Submit Amicus Curiae Brief on Forced Marriage E418/3
Civil Party Lead Co-Lawyers’ Request for Clarification relating to Remaining Charges in Case 002 E439
Third Decision on Fitness of the Accused KHIEU Samphan to Stand Trial and order for quarterly cognitive testing E389/6
Ruling on closed session testimony of 2-TCW-1002 E319/35/6
Co-prosecutors’ rule 87(4) request to admit one document E437
Co-prosecutors’ request to admit S-21 lists pursuant to rules 87(3) and 87(4) E393/3
Trial Chamber Memorandum Entitled “Decision on Lead Co-Lawyers’request to place unrevised translations on the Case File” E428/1
Decision on Lead Co-Lawyers’ Rule 92 Submission on the Confirmation of the Scope of Case 002/02 Concerning the Charges of Rape Outside the Context of Forced Marriage E306/7/3
Trial Chamber Memorandum Entitled “Decision on International Co-Prosecution’s request to admit interview of 2-TCW-914” E432/1

Fundraising Meeting on Case 002/02 Reparations