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ECCC to try up to 8 Khmer Rouge ex-officials: report

[JURIST] The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website; JURIST news archive] plans to try as many as eight suspects on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for their roles in the Khmer Rouge [JURIST news archive] communist regime of the 1970s, according to an ECCC planning document reported by AP on Wednesday. The document also indicates that the ECCC plans to propose an increase in the court's budget from $56.3 million to $170 million, allowing it to operate past its originally scheduled completion date in 2009 until March 2011. AP has more.

The ECCC was established by a 2001 law [text as amended 2004, PDF] to investigate and try surviving Khmer Rouge officials. The Khmer Rouge is generally held responsible for the genocide of an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians [PPU backgrounder] who died between 1975 and 1979. A Cambodian genocide survivor testified [JURIST report] last Friday against former Khmer Rouge official Nuon Chea [PBS backgrounder] at a pre-trial hearing before the ECCC, marking the first time that a victim has ever taken the stand against a former Khmer Rouge official.

2/16/2008 -- According to an ECCC media alert released Friday, "The recently released information on the revised ECCC budget has caused some confusion regarding the number of possible accused persons to be brought before the ECCC. Although the figure of eight was used as a budget planning figure, it does not represent a restriction, nor a guideline for the judicial work of the court." The ECCC's statement stressed that "The mandate of the ECCC remains senior leaders and most responsible. The total number of accused persons will be a matter for the ECCC Co-Prosecutors and Co-Investigating judges to determine based on careful examination of all available evidence."

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