The investigation in Case 004 has been split into two cases focuses on the crimes allegedly committed by two individuals, Yim Tith (Case 004) and Ao An (Case 004/2).
Case 004 (Yim Tith)
When the Khmer Rouge took control of Phnom Penh in April 17, 1975, Yim Tith was appointed as the party secretary for Kirivong district. During the regime’s power, Yim Tith rose to power and began to control portions of the North West Zone as secretary of Sector. He is believed to responsible for crimes committed by Khmer Rouge cadres in Takeo Province from 1975 to 1978, in Pursat Province in 1978 to 1979, and later in Battambang Province in 1978 to 1979.
In those capacities, Yim Tith has been charged with genocide of the Khmer Krom, crimes against humanity, including persecution of “new people” forcibly transferred in 1975 from areas previously under Khmer Republic administration and individuals forcibly transferred from the East Zone in connection with the mid-1978 purges, as well as Khmer Krom and Vietnamese, and other inhumane acts, including forced marriage. Yim Tith is also charged with grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and violations of the 1956 Cambodian Penal Code. To date, CJA has filed 102 Civil Party applications for Case 004 on behalf of Cambodian-American Khmer Rouge survivors.
The ECCC concluded its investigations in Case 004 on June 13, 2017. On June 28, 2019, the Co-Investigating Judges issued a split-decision in Case 004. The National Co-Investigating Judge ruled to dismiss the charges against Yim Tith for lack of jurisdiction while the International Co-Investigating Judge found that the ECCC did have jurisdiction but declared a number of civil party applicants inadmissible. CJA filed an appeal for all the civil party applicants deemed inadmissible in Case 004 in September 2019. With the assistance of the Stanford University’s Human Rights Clinic, CJA also submitted an appeal on the jurisdictional split between the National and International Co-Investigating Judges before the Court.
Case 004/2 (Ao An)
Ao An, also known as Ta An, Tho An or Aom An, is is the focus of investigations in Case 004 / 2. After the Khmer Rouge victory on April 17, 1975, Ao An was allegedly appointed secretary of Kandal Steung district of Sector 25 of the Southwest Zone, under the authority of Zone Secretary Ta Mok. Sector 25 comprised territories south and east of Phnom Penh, the population of which was forcibly transferred to previously Khmer Rouge-controlled zones after April 17. By 1976, Ao An was transferred to Sector 35, where he was a member of the Sector Committee. Sometime between March and May 1977, Ao An was transferred and given a major promotion. He became secretary of Sector 41 in what had previously been the Khmer Rouge’s North Zone and was soon re-designated the Central Zone, of which he was made deputy secretary under Ke Pork, a member of the Khmer Rouge Central Committee. As zone deputy secretary, Ao An is believed to have joined Pork on the Central Committee, the Khmer Rouge’s second-highest leadership body, with nationwide authority and subordinate only to the Standing Committee.
In those capacities, Ao An has been charged with genocide of the Cham, crimes against humanity, including persecution of “new people” forcibly transferred in 1975 from areas previously under Khmer Republic administration, former Lon Nol soldiers and people from the East Zone, as well as other inhumane acts, including forced marriage and rape. Ao An is also charged with violations of the 1956 Cambodian Penal Code.
The investigation against Ao An was closed on 16 December 2016. On August 16, 2018, the Co-Investigating Judges issued a split decision in Case 004/2. The National Co-Investigating Judge ruled that the ECCC did not have jurisdiction over the defendant in the case. The International Co-Investigating Judge found that the ECCC did have jurisdiction over the defendant and went on to rule on the admissibility of the civil party applicants, including CJA’s clients. CJA coordinated the appeal for all the civil party applicants who were deemed inadmissible by the International Co-Investigating Judge. CJA filed a brief with the Pre-Trial Chamber on behalf of all civil party applicants deemed inadmissible on 29 November 2018. On December 19, 2019, the Pre-Trial Chamber issued a split ruling on the appeal, with the International judges ordering indictments to proceed to trial and the National judges calling for dismissals. The legal procedure in light of such a split is unclear, damaging victims for whom the ECCC offered the promise of justice more than four decades following the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge regime. On 31 March 2020, CJA filed a brief on behalf of its clients and thousands of other civil parties to the Pre-Trial Chamber requesting that the Chamber take all necessary measures to safeguard the rights of civil parties given the procedural roadblock.