The co-investigating judges at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) on May 20 jointly denied the request of the international co-prosecutor to forward the case file of former Khmer Rouge naval commander Meas Muth to the trial chamber, following the pre-trial chamber’s arguments on April 7.
The judges rejected the prosecutor’s argument that all five pre-trial chamber judges had agreed that the indictment issued should go to trial, according to a press release from the UN-backed Khmer Rouge Tribunal.
“The pre-trial chamber’s national judges had clearly expressed a diametrically opposed opinion by ordering the case file to be archived. Hence, merely relying on the terminology used by them took their words out of context,” the press release said.
Muth was charged in 2015 for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and domestic offences under Cambodian law.
ECCC spokesperson Neth Pheaktra said the decision on denying the request of the international prosecutor came after a lack of support from the pre-trial judges.
“After receiving the request from the international co-prosecutor, the co-investigating judges issued an order to reject forwarding the case for trial. The rejection was due to the fact that there was not enough vocal support of the request during the pre-trial chamber,” Pheaktra said.
The international co-prosecutor still can file an appeal seeking an explanation for this decision, he said.
“The decision of the co-investigating judge does not mean that the case is officially dropped or forwarded to a trial because there are arguments to be heard still on procedure,” he said.