Cambodia Tribunal Charges Former Khmer Rouge Cadre With Genocide

Prime Minister Hun Sen, a former Khmer Rouge soldier, has warned more trials could plunge the country back into civil war and has promised to thwart new indictments. REUTERS/Olivia Harris

BANGKOK, Dec 9 (Reuters) – An international judge at a tribunal in Cambodia on Friday charged a former Khmer Rouge cadre with genocide and crimes against humanity, despite government resistance to investigations into the brutal, ultra-Maoist former regime.

The official, Yim Tith, also faces counts of murder and violating the Geneva Convention for his alleged role in Pol Pot’s government, which killed a fifth of Cambodia’s population from 1975 to 1979, according to a statement by the tribunal.

Investigating judge Michael Bohlander filed the charges, tribunal spokesman Neth Pheaktra said. But the judge’s Cambodian counterpart, You Bunleng, did not back the charges.

“They expect to finish the investigation soon, and the final case may be at the end of 2016,” Neth Pheaktra told Reuters.

Yim Tith attended Wednesday’s session and left the courtroom shortly after, a tribunal official said. Reuters was not able to reach him, or his lawyers, for comment, however.

The charges come amid Cambodian government opposition to the decade-old United Nations-Cambodian court, which has so far delivered guilty verdicts in cases involving three high-profile Khmer Rouge leaders. But new cases have faced resistance.

Prime Minister Hun Sen, a former Khmer Rouge soldier, has warned more trials could plunge the country back into civil war and has promised to thwart new indictments.

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