Former Khmer Rouge official Yim Tith, more commonly known as Ta Tith, has been charged with crimes including genocide in Case 004 at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), the tribunal announced on Wednesday afternoon.
Ta Tith, who stands accused of a slew of crimes allegedly committed during his time as acting secretary of the Khmer Rouge’s Northwest Zone, is the first suspect to be charged by International Co-Investigating Judge Michael Bohlander since he took over from Judge Mark Harmon in August.
Along with genocide against the Khmer Krom, an ethnic minority from Southern Vietnam, Ta Tith has been charged with a litany of crimes against humanity including murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, imprisonment, torture and forced marriage, according to a statement released by the ECCC.
“He was charged in person…at the court,” said Lars Olsen, a spokesman for the tribunal. “After he was charged, he returned home with his lawyers and they now have full access to the case file and they can participate fully in the case.”
Mr. Olsen said he did not know whether an arrest warrant had been issued for Ta Tith. “I have no knowledge about that. The only thing I can say is that he returned home after the initial appearance before the judge,” he said.
The charges follow a meeting in Phnom Penh on Tuesday between David Scheffer, the U.N.’s special expert on the ECCC, and Deputy Prime Minister Sok An. Mr. Olsen said he did not know whether the two discussed the issue, but that the decision to charge Ta Tith was made prior to their meeting.
Ta Tith is the fourth Khmer Rouge official to be charged in the government-opposed cases 003 and 004.
Cambodian police have refused to execute arrest warrants issued by Judge Harmon last year for suspect Meas Muth, the Khmer Rouge navy commander, and Im Chaem, a district chief. Ta An, who was a deputy secretary in the Central Zone of Democratic Kampuchea, has also been charged in Case 004.
Nuon Chea, Pol Pot’s second-in-command, and Khieu Samphan, the Khmer Rouge head of state, were found guilty in August 2014 of crimes against humanity in the first phase of Case 002. Their appeal process is ongoing.
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