On 10 August 2020, the Supreme Court Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) issued a landmark ruling terminating the proceedings against Mr Ao An. Following 13 years of investigation, the Court could could not agree that it had jurisdiction to prosecute Mr Ao An.
In summary, the Supreme Court Chamber, emphasising the ‘need for certainty and finality’, held as follows:
– A Trial Chamber is lawfully seised of a case where the Pre-Trial Chamber transmits the relevant Case File in accordance with the ECCC legal framework.
– The jurisdiction of the Trial Chamber is activated when it is seised of an enforceable indictment issued by the Co-Investigating Judges or the Pre-Trial Chamber.
– Parties in this case are entitled to a final determination of their cases.
– The Press Release by the Judges of the Trial Chamber in Case 004/2 does not constitute an enforceable or appealable judicial decision.
– In light of the Pre-Trial Chamber’s finding in Case 004/2 that the actions of the Co-Investigating Judges were illegal, it flowed that neither Closing Order was valid.
– In the absence of a definite and enforceable indictment, the case against AO An is hereby terminated before the ECCC.
Ben Joyes acted as Senior Legal Consultant for Mr Ao An between 2015-2017.
Kirsty Sutherland continues to act as Senior Legal Consultant for Mr Yim Tith in the linked proceedings in Case 004.