Phnom Penh (FN), Nov. 16 - Miguel de Serpa Soares, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel, on Friday, delivered his remarks at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia’s Pronouncement of judgment in Case 002/02.

“The delivery of the judgment today in phase 2 of Case 002 is a historic achievement in the work of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). The ECCC has once again demonstrated that it has the capacity to prosecute and try the most complex cases in accordance with international standards,” according to the statement of Miguel de Serpa Soares.

He continued that, “the ECCC has addressed some of the most serious international crimes which were committed by those most responsible during the Khmer Rouge regime, including genocide, various grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and crimes against humanity. In this regard, today’s verdict will most certainly have an impact on the further development of international criminal justice.”

“The United Nations has consistently advocated the position that there shall be no impunity for the most serious international crimes. And today, justice has been served. Today’s judgment also demonstrates that perpetrators of the most heinous crimes can be held accountable, even decades after those crimes were committed. But this judgment goes beyond the attribution of international criminal responsibility for the crimes committed. Today’s judgment also means justice for the victims. The evidence and facts established during this trial will serve as an invaluable historical record for the people of Cambodia and beyond,” Miguel said.

He further added that with its judgment, the ECCC has also consolidated its instrumental role in strengthening the rule of law in Cambodia.

According to Miguel, during his first official mission to Cambodia as Legal Counsel of the United Nations, he visited the S-21 Security Centre and the Killing Fields. And while he only got a glimpse of the unspeakable suffering of the people of Cambodia, he immediately connected to their thirst for justice.

“As independent proceedings at the ECCC move toward the completion of its judicial mandate, I call upon the Government of Cambodia and the international community to continue to support the Extraordinary Chambers,” Miguel underlined, adding that “While justice has triumphed today, our thoughts are with the victims of the unspeakable crimes that have been committed in this country.”

Today, ECCC convicted former senior Khmer Rouge leaders NUON Chea and KHIEU Samphan of genocide, crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949. The crimes were committed at various locations throughout Cambodia during the Democratic Kampuchea period from 17 April 1975 to 6 January 1979.