The second and final trial against former Khmer Rouge leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, Case 002/02 before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, began on October 17, 2014 and covered the remaining charges against the two senior leaders following the initial judgment in Case 002/01. The trial covered a broader range of alleged atrocities, including genocide against the Cham and Vietnamese, forced marriage and rape within the context of forced marriage, internal purges, and alleged crimes committed against Buddhists and former Khmer Republic officials.
Case 002/2 covered alleged crimes committed at four security centers — S-21 prison, Kraing Ta Chan, Au Kanseng, and Phnom Kraol security centers — and crimes committed at four work sites — 1st January Dam, Trapeang Thma Dam, Kampong Chhnang Airport Construction Site, and Tram Kok Cooperative. A total of 3,865 Khmer Rouge victims were admitted as Civil Parties.
Although Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea received a life sentence in Case 002/01, the opening statements of the National Co-Prosecutor Ms. Chea Leang, explained why the second trial was an important part of the fact finding and accountability for Cambodia:
“Of all the crimes in Democratic Kampuchea, there was none graver than the relentless and systematic effort of the senior Khmer rouge leaders to identify and smash all those they feared could one day oppose them: those who came from families not considered part of the peasant or worker class, those associated with the former government, those viewed as suspect because they came from the cities, those who failed to obey and dared to question the policy of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, and those who tried to flee and escape the Khmer Rouge.
An endless and ever escalating cycle of violence against the Cambodian people, which left a land of mass graves and missing relatives. This was the truly heinous legacy of the CPK leaders who sit before us today. So, for those who have asked why we need another trial when these Accused, elderly men, have already received life sentences, the answer is simple. We are here because the millions of Cambodians who did not survive this regime, for whom the 3 years, 8 months, and 20 days of Democratic Kampuchea meant only toil and dust, suffering and grief, pain and death.”
The trial was split into five segments, with a victim impact hearing at the end of each segment where the court heard directly from victims and civil parties of the alleged crimes in the proceedings.
On November 16, 2018, the Trial Chamber of the ECCC found Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan guilty of crimes against humanity, including forced marriage and rape within forced marriage, genocide against the Vietnamese, and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions. Nuon Chea was also separately convicted of genocide of the Muslim Cham. Both were sentenced to life imprisonment. The judgment confirms that the widespread and systematic nature of the crimes committed by the Khmer Rouge was directed by its most senior leaders. The Court also acknowledged the suffering of the victims and survivors of the Khmer Rouge who bravely continued to seek accountability, and endorsed thirteen collective and moral reparations projects that focus on remembrance of the victims, therapy and psychological assistance, and documentation and education. To watch the final sentencing in Case 002/2 in English or French, click here, or in Khmer, click here.