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Cablegate: Khmer Rouge Tribunal: Five More for Prosecution

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DE RUEHPF #0648/01 2441044
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
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FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1136
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN PRIORITY 0226
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS PRIORITY 0121
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 2399
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0511
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 0607
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RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE PRIORITY 0340
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 3303
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY 0184
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 2408
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 PHNOM PENH 000648

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, IO, S/WCI
USUN FOR MARK SIMONOFF

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/31/2019
TAGS: PREL KJUS PHUM KTIA PINR PGOV CB
SUBJECT: KHMER ROUGE TRIBUNAL: FIVE MORE FOR PROSECUTION

REF: A. PHNOM PENH 564
B. PHNOM PENH 264
C. PHNOM PENH 213
D. 07 PHNOM PENH 1203
E. 07 PHNOM PENH 956

Classified By: DCM THEODORE ALLEGRA FOR REASONS 1.4 (B, D)

1. (C) SUMMARY: The Pre-Trial Chamber at the Khmer Rouge
Tribunal (KRT) will announce this week that five more
high-level Khmer Rouge cadres will be prosecuted, although a
small number of the proposed charges against some of the
accused may be set aside for lack of evidence. The decision
on an appeal by the international co-prosecutor, who could
not secure the support of the Cambodian co-prosecutor,
vindicates the special "super-majority" provisions of the
court's rules and is another sign of progress to try Khmer
Rouge leaders and "those most responsible" for genocide and
crimes against humanity during the KR regime. END SUMMARY.

Confirmation of the Positive Decision Slow in Coming
--------------------------------------------- ------

2. (C) The announcement, expected as early as September 2,
comes just as the court has appointed William Smith as acting
co-prosecutor for the international side, replacing Robert
Petit who recently resigned for personal reasons. A new
co-prosecutor will be named from among two UN nominees now
before the Supreme Council of the Magistracy. News of a
positive Pre-Trial Chamber (PTC) decision has been making the
circuits in Phnom Penh since April (Ref B), but international
sources at the court have stated that the timing of the
announcement was the most crucial element for the judges and
court administrators faced with a number of other burning
issues, such as establishing an anti-corruption mechanism for
the court. News of a satisfactory solution to the corruption
problem (with significant assistance from the USG - Ref A),
allowed the court to shift its focus to the PTC decision.
The last two weeks have been devoted to translating the
decisions on the five cases and preparing for their release
on the ECCC website. ECCC Deputy Director Knut Rosandhaug
(protect) told Pol/Econ Chief August 31 that the decisions
would be released on September 2 without much fanfare.

3. (C) As with other prosecution-related decisions, the PTC
will refer only to multiple cases of unidentified accused,
and affirm co-prosecutor Robert Petit's contention that these
cases fall within the carefully negotiated, narrow
jurisdictional mandate of the court regarding KR senior
leaders and "those most responsible" during the 1975-79
period. The identities of the accused will then go forward
under seal to the Office of the co-Investigating Judges, who
have the authority to sign off on preliminary indictments and
call for the arrest and detention of the accused as part of a
new Case 003.

4. (C) However, multiple sources at the court confirm that
the co-investigating judges -- who are grappling with a
massive, million-document case against four already accused
KR leaders in the second indictment (Case 002 - Ref E) and
trying to move that to a "Closing Order" by late summer 2010
-- can not now spend precious resources on a new Case 003.
Instead, the judges will likely first receive and employ
already promised resources for Case 002 and then await
decisions by UN donors on additional resources for Case 003
when they convene at the KRT Steering Committee at the UN in
the early fall.

The Accused
-----------

5. (C) The five suspects, all of whom reside in Cambodia, are
considered among the most brutal implementers of the policies
set by the Khmer Rouge leadership to purge the Communist
Party of Kampuchea of traitors and "smash" them and execute
countless others based on mere suspicion or for petty
offenses. At least two of these five were closely associated
with former KR Defense Minister Ta Mok, known as "The

PHNOM PENH 00000648 002 OF 003


Butcher". Three of the newly accused are well known to the
public and the other two are reportedly known well in their
local communities but do not have the same notoriety as the
others. Newly accused Sou Met and Meas Muth headed KR
military divisions and were known to send many to their
deaths at the S-21 torture center. Both retain positions in
the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) gained with their
defection from the KR in 1996. Im Chaem was a Khmer Rouge
District Chief in Banteay Meanchey province infamous for
arbitrary executions. An (or "Ta An") was the head of
District 105 Security in Ta Mok's home area where communalist
policies were most extreme, failed miserably, and the ensuing
protests were brutally suppressed. Little public information
is available about a fifth accused known as Teut (or "Ta
Teut"), but KRT prosecution sources refer to all of the
accused as "command-level" associated with graphic evidence
of mass murder and crimes against humanity. A sixth accused
presented to the Pre-Trial Chamber was Van Rith, the former
KR Commerce Minister, who died last November at the age of
70. Short biographic sketches follow:

-- Meas Muth (AKA Meah Mut): aged 70, was the former Khmer
Rouge Division 164 commander, which included the navy of
Democratic Kampuchea (DK), the official state name of
Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. As one of only nine division
commanders, and as the son-in-law of Ta Mok, he was regarded
as a fierce leader who sent many to their deaths. After
defection, Meas Muth was assigned an RCAF command position in
Battambang and lives there today. He is outspoken in denying
his responsibility and has reportedly "made noises" about
stirring up trouble if he is publicly accused.

-- Sou Met headed Division 502, which included the DK air
force. He was allegedly directly involved in the transfer to
S-21 of cadre who would later be executed. The accused in
case 001, Duch, has named Sou Met in his testimony. Sou Met
has also been in the RCAF in Battambang since his defection.

-- Im Chaem, aged 65 and the only female among the newly
accused, was a women's hero during the KR and the Khmer Rouge
District Chief for Preah Net Preah in the province of Banteay
Meanchey. She allegedly used the death penalty to rigidly
enforce the brutal demands made by the KR of every-day
laborers in the fields. She, too, has publicly protested any
accusations against her.

-- An (or "Ta An," which means uncle An) was the head of
District 105 Security in Tram Krak, Takeo province, which had
a reputation for extreme torture and punishment, not only
against the educated, "class enemies" and poor performers,
but also against the political rivals of Ta Mok, whose home
village was in Tram Krak.

-- Teut (or "Ta Teut") reportedly had a command level
position. There appear to be no public records on Teut. As
one ECCC prosecution source stated, donor governments are
going to have to dig deep into their intelligence archives to
find more information on some of the newly accused.

The former UN co-prosecutor, Robert Petit, had indicated in
public remarks that these five would mark the end of
prosecutions by the ECCC under the legal scope of
jurisdiction, and ECCC sources confirm that there are no
plans to add more accused beyond these five.

Looming Questions: PTC Workload, Civil Parties
--------------------------------------------- -

7. (C) In addition to the immediate issues of wrapping up
the trial of S-21 torture center head Duch (Case 001) and
preparations for Case 002, the court is considering whether
to make the temporary PTC -- whose international judges come
every few months for brief sessions -- a full-time enterprise
with permanently resident international judges. Reportedly
both of the current PTC judges (from the Netherlands and
Australia) are nominally opposed to the move. Australian
Ambassador Margaret Adamson told the Ambassador recently that
while Australia has not yet made a decision formally to

PHNOM PENH 00000648 003 OF 003


oppose the move, they do not support it at this time. She
believes that consultation with the pretrial chamber judges
to date has been inadequate, that the costs of having the
chamber meet fulltime have been substantially underestimated
and that a stronger case needs to be made for why the PTC
should be in Phnom Penh. If this can be done, and if the
costs are laid out more accurately, then all of the donors
should support the move.

8. (C) ECCC sources also note that the defense team in Case
002 for "Brother Number 2," Nuon Chea, will unleash a tidal
wave of appeals as soon as the co-investigating judges
announce they are closing the investigation phase later this
year. The work that this "very sharp" team of Dutch defense
lawyers will bring will more than be adequate to justify the
full-time presence of the PTC, according to court sources.
Reportedly the PTC to date has taken on average more than six
months in each of its decisions. In Case 002, where the
accused are in precarious health, the court can no longer
afford such long periods to prepare decisions, according to
court administrators as well as international monitors. In
addition, the PTC requires its own full-time staff, including
judges' clerks who can help prepare decisions in rapid order,
court sources say. These and other administrative issues,
including funding, will be the subject of donor community
discussion with ECCC officials in the third week of September
as well as a meeting of the UN-based Steering Committee in
early October.

9. (C) COMMENT: The confirmation of the prosecution of this
group marks a very positive benchmark for the Khmer Rouge
Tribunal and effectively fulfills the court's UN-supported
mandate to bring not only Khmer Rouge leaders to justice, but
also "those most responsible." The criteria for selection of
the accused is clear: these are the surviving field
commanders who took direct orders from the likes of DK
Security Minister Son Sen and Pol Pot himself to carry out
purges and "smashing" on a mass scale. Now the focus must
turn to the very real logistical and budgetary challenges
facing the court -- especially given the pace of work
expected for both the PTC and the co-investigating judges in
the near term and the attention needed for a fledgling
victims unit for the long-term -- to ensure that the ECCC
structures can keep pace with the decisions its judges make.
RODLEY

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