Journal Article

Accounting for Famine at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia: The Crimes against Humanity of Extermination, Inhumane Acts and Persecution

Randle C. DeFalco

in International Journal of Transitional Justice

Volume 5, issue 1, pages 142-158
Published in print March 2011 | ISSN: 1752-7716
Published online March 2011 | e-ISSN: 1752-7724 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ijtj/ijr001
Accounting for Famine at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia: The Crimes against Humanity of Extermination, Inhumane Acts and Persecution

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Abstract1

Mass famines routinely accompany the commission of violent international crimes during periods of armed conflict or under repressive regimes. Indeed, suffering wrought by avoidable famine continues to plague civilians in places such as Gaza, Darfur and North Korea. Too often, instances of mass famine are dismissed as the products of mistakes or unfavourable weather, rather than criminal acts. To date, no court has entered a conviction for an international crime predicated explicitly on famine. This article explores how the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) can take an important step towards rectifying this prosecutorial gap by addressing the famine that occurred in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge during the period of Democratic Kampuchea (1975–1979). The famine wrought unimaginable suffering and resulted in the deaths of up to one million Cambodian civilians. Specifically, this article explores the combination of three enumerated crimes against humanity – extermination, other inhumane acts and persecution – as one possible legal framework to account for famine and starvation at the ECCC. An overview of possible sources of evidence is used to forecast potential outcomes at the ECCC for each crime against humanity discussed.

Journal Article.  9175 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration ; Public International Law ; Human Rights

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