John D. Ciorciari quoted in Voice of America article, "Amnesty, Double Jeopardy on Agenda for Tribunal Hearing"

June 26, 2011

John D. Ciorciari was quoted in a Voice of America article on the issue of double jeopardy in Case 002, the upcoming trial of several ex-Khmer Rouge leaders.

The leaders ― Khieu Samphan, Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, and Ieng Thirith, all of whom had important ideological and political positions in the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime ― were granted amnesty under a 1996 agreement, and have been living as normal citizens for more than ten years. The question has arisen of whether their upcoming trial, the second in a series of trials of Khmer Rouge leaders, constitutes double jeopardy, the practice of trying a person twice for the same crime, which has been roundly declared illegal under international law. However, as Ciorciari points out, the specifics of the situation will likely render double jeopardy an ineffective defense.

"None of the Case 002 defendants should be able to use the 1996 amnesty as a successful defense," said Ciorciari. "The text of the amnesty agreement quite specifically granted Ieng Sary immunity from prosecution under a 1994 law outlawing the Khmer Rouge organization … It says nothing about barring prosecution for the grave international crimes that will be addressed in Case 002."