Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Khmer Rouge-era head of state Khieu Samphan transferred to Kandal prison

Khmer Rouge-era head of state Khieu Samphan transferred to Kandal prison

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan listens to ECCC verdict on September 22 last year. ECCC

Khmer Rouge-era head of state Khieu Samphan transferred to Kandal prison

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) has transferred former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan to Kandal Provincial Prison to continue serving his life sentence.

Samphan, now the sole surviving leader of the Khmer Rouge, was sent to the Kandal prison on January 30, co-prosecutors Chea Leang and Fergal Gaynor announced in a February 1 statement.

Although the trials that took place under the purview of the ECCC – which was created to investigate and try those deemed to be most responsible for serious crimes during the Khmer Rouge period – were undertaken with international support, including some prosecutors and judges who were not Cambodian, the hybrid tribunal operated within the Cambodian legal system and the Cambodian authorities are ultimately responsible for incarcerating anyone convicted and sentenced at the ECCC to a term of imprisonment.

“This process involved discussions with and assurances from the General Department of Prisons as well as multiple visits to Kandal Provincial Prison by the Co-Prosecutors. The Co-Prosecutors are also mindful of the fact that the International Committee of the Red Cross conducts regular prison inspections of prisons throughout Cambodia including Kandal Provincial Prison,” read the statement.

Samphan was arrested on November 19, 2007 and detained under the authority detained under the authority of the co-investigating judges for his alleged participation in crimes against humanity committed by the Khmer Rouge. After a full investigation, he was indicted and put on trial.

The first trial, Case 002/01, began in November 2011 and concluded in July 2013. The judges announced their verdict in August 2014.

Samphan and Nuon Chea, known as Brother No2, were convicted of crimes against humanity including mass murder and other inhumane acts such as the forced transfer of the civilian population from Phnom Penh and other urban centres.

Both were sentenced to life imprisonment for their roles in these crimes. On appeal, the life sentences were upheld by the Supreme Court Chamber in November 2016.

The second trial, Case 002/02, started in November 2014 and finished in July 2017. The verdict was issued in November 2018. Nuon Chea and Samphan were convicted of genocide, crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions for acts including persecution, enslavement, imprisonment, forced marriage, rape, torture, murder, extermination and forced disappearances.

They were both sentenced to life imprisonment. On September 22, 2022, the Supreme Court Chamber upheld Samphan’s life sentence, whereas Nuon Chea had passed away in August, 2019.

The verdict stated that the crimes being tried in Case 002 represented the most significant mass atrocity prosecution since the trial of the Nazi leadership at Nuremburg, Germany, at the end of World War II.

Although critics of the ECCC often pointed out the limited number of perpetrators whose crimes were accounted for, most human rights advocates agreed that the proceedings brought at least some measure of justice to the “millions” of victims of the Khmer Rouge regime.

Many historians of the Khmer Rouge period stated that the trials made an important contribution to the process of preserving evidence of the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge leadership, which provided both academics and the general public with a better understanding of how that tragic period in Cambodian history came to pass.


  • Bareknuckle champion wants Kun Khmer fighter

    Dave Leduc, who is the current openweight Lethwei boxing champion in Myanmar, has announced that he will travel to Cambodia this year to challenge SEA Games gold medallist Prum Samnang any time that is convenient, after their planned match later this month in Slovakia was

  • Five-year-old Hanuman dances his way into hearts of Cambodia

    A young talent from a new-established settlement has emerged, captivating the online world with his mesmerising performances of the traditional Cambodian monkey dance. Roeun Kakada is a five-year-old prodigy who has taken the social media sphere by storm with his exceptional dance skills and dedication

  • Fresh Covid warnings as Thai hospital fills

    A senior health official reminds the public to remain vigilant, as neighbouring countries experience an increase in Covid-19 cases, with the latest surge appearing to be a result of the Omicron XBB.1.5 sub-variant. Or Vandine, secretary of state and spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health,

  • Honda shutters Siem Reap football club

    Japanese football legend Keisuke Honda, the owner of Siem Reap football club Soltilo Angkor FC, has been forced to shut the club down, after it failed to attract sponsorship for the upcoming season. Honda, the former manager of the Cambodia men's national football team, said

  • PM declares ASEAN Para Games open

    The 12th ASEAN Para Games officially kicked off on the evening of June 3 at Morodok Techo National Stadium in Phnom Penh, with a spectacular opening ceremony featuring fireworks and performances by some of the Kingdom’s most accomplished talents. Tens of thousands of sports fans

  • Hun Sen warns of regional tensions

    ASIA is becoming a dangerous geopolitical hotspot, with several countries announcing that they intend to send naval vessels towards Southeast Asia and on to the South China Sea, warned Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Heated geopolitical issues can easily escalate, namely to war. I am not