Im Chaem, an alleged district secretary under the Khmer Rouge, is photographed at her residence in Oddar Meanchey in 2014.
Im Chaem, an alleged district secretary under the Khmer Rouge, is photographed at her residence in Oddar Meanchey in 2014. Charlotte Pert

Khmer Rouge tribunal sets date for hearing on Chaem’s dismissal

A date has been set for a hearing on the international co-prosecutor’s appeal challenging the dismissal of charges against alleged Khmer Rouge leader Im Chaem, who was accused of crimes against humanity.

“The Pre-Trial Chamber has decided that a hearing will be held in case 004/01 to hear arguments of the parties before it issues its decision on the appeal … the hearing will take place on 11 and 12 December 2017,” reads today’s press release from the court.

The arguments will take place “in a closed session”.

Chaem allegedly oversaw crimes such as extermination and enslavement, committed at the Phnom Trayoung security centre and the Spean Sreng worksite, in her alleged role as a district secretary. The case was originally dismissed in February on the grounds that Chaem was not a senior leader of the regime, and therefore outside of the court's mandate to try those “most responsible” for the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge.

The case has drawn controversy because of the government’s public opposition to it, and disagreement over whether she should be charged has split the prosecutors' office along national and international lines.

The appeal was lodged specifically by the office of the international co-prosecutor, Nicholas Koumjian, with the national co-prosecutor, Chea Leang, in favour of the dismissal.

“They are in a disagreement, yes,” confirmed court spokeswoman Hayat Abu-Saleh.

According to the scheduling order, on December 11 the civil party lawyers and Leang will make submissions, then Koumjian will make his appeal.

The following day, the defence team will respond. Chaem will then have the right to make a personal statement if she chooses.

“Once the hearing is concluded, the Pre-Trial Chamber will adjourn to deliberate on its decision whether to dismiss the case or send it to trial. The decision on the appeal is expected within six months of the hearing, at the latest,” reads the press release.

According to Abu-Saleh, “If they decide to dismiss it, it is dismissed. There is no other appeal.”