[JURIST] Investigating judges of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website] met with former low-level Khmer Rouge members Tuesday in an effort to secure their cooperation with the court's mission. ECCC judges assured the former Khmer Rouge cadres that the court's mandate only permits prosecutions against high-level Khmer Rouge figures; many former members have withheld their cooperation and testimony for years out of fear of prosecution. The ECCC was established to prosecute former members of the late-1970s Khmer Rouge communist regime [Yale backgrounder], generally held responsible for the genocide of an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians [PPU backgrounder] between 1975 and 1979.
The ECCC was established by a 2001 Cambodian law [text as amended 2005, PDF] authorizing the investigation and trial of surviving Khmer Rouge officials. Former Khmer Rouge leaders Kaing Guek Eav, Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith and Khieu Samphan [JURIST news archive] are now in ECCC custody, charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity, and are expected to face trial in 2008. AFP has more. AP has additional coverage.