Phnom Penh: Former Deputy Chief of Central Area in Kampong Cham during the Khmer Rouge regine, Ao An, passed away on November 6, 2020 in Battambang province. This is according to Mr. Neth Pheaktra, an official of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. He was aged around 87.
Before his death, Ao An was a suspect in Case 004/02 at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.
After 13 years of investigation that An, also known as “Ta An” a decision to close the case on August 10, 2020.
He was charged in 2015 with premeditated homicide and crimes against humanity and in 2016, he was charged with additional crimes, including genocide.
Charges included alleged crimes against humanity in many areas and sites, including at Anlong Chrey Dam Forced Labour Site, Kok Ring Execution Site, Met Sop Security Centre as well as Tuol Beng and Wat Angkuonh Dei Security Centres.
Ao An was reported to have been a key figure in the Khmer Rouge during the Pol Pot dictatorship between 1975 and 1979, serving as the Central Zone Deputy Secretary and Sector 41 Secretary. He was responsible for running forced labor camps, execution sites and security centers. Ao An was charged with genocide of the Cham and crimes against humanity, including murder, persecution, extermination, enslavement, imprisonment, torture, forced marriage, rape and forced labor.
The case fell apart after the co-investigating judges (international and Cambodian) judges failed to reach a consensus on the charges, and in August 2018, issued separate closing orders against An, with the national co-investigating judge issued a dismissal of the case, finding that An did not fall within the personal jurisdiction of the court.
The case was eventually dropped after an unsuccessful appeal from the international prosecution team.
An always protested his innocence and downplayed his role within the Democratic Kampuchea regime.