Mr William Smith AMIn 2006, over 30 years after the Communist Party of Kampuchea “CPK” aka “Khmer Rouge” came to power in Cambodia, an internationalized hybrid court commenced its investigations to bring to trial senior leaders and those most responsible for the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the Geneva conventions alleged to have been committed in Cambodia between 1975 and 1979. In the CPK’s aim to revolutionize Cambodia by turning its society into a communist agrarian model, at least 1.7 million people are alleged to have been killed, through execution, overwork, starvation and sickness. Vast numbers of Cambodians were forcibly married and raped in order to rapidly increase the population to defend the country and achieve the unrealistic agricultural and infrastructure goals set by the CPK.  

Now in its 11th year, the ECCC has just completed the evidence hearings and closing arguments in it’s third trial where Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan have been tried for the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions. William Smith will provide an overview of the case with particular focus on the alleged genocide and crimes against humanity concerning the different victim groups, the nature of the prosecution evidence, defences presented and the overall challenges encountered during the process.

Mr William Smith AM

William Smith is the Deputy Co-Prosecutor of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). The ECCC is mandated to bring to trial senior leaders of Democratic Kampuchea and those most responsible for crimes committed under the Khmer Rouge regime between 1975 and 1979. He has held this position since the court was established in 2006. For the preceding 11 years, William worked as a trial attorney and legal officer at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). In 2000, William was seconded to the UN Transitional Authority in East Timor as the Acting District Administrator of Viqueque District. His work has taken him all over the world, including to the Balkans, Rwanda, Senegal and Northern Ireland. He was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to the law, particularly through international justice tribunals and human rights organizations.

Raised and educated in Adelaide, South Australia, William joined the South Australian Police Force where he worked for seven years, primarily as a police prosecutor. Following this, he studied law and arts at Adelaide University, graduating in 1993 while also working for the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions. William worked as a barrister and solicitor in Adelaide before joining the ICTY in 1996. In 1999, he received a Masters in International Law from Leiden University, the Netherlands. 

About IAGS Conference 2017 - Public Events

The International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) will hold its thirteenth meeting in Brisbane on 9 – 13 July 2017, at the St Lucia campus of The University of Queensland. The conference is jointly hosted by the TC Beirne School of Law and the Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect.

The conference theme is “Justice and the Prevention of Genocide”.

Find out more about the IAGS Conference.


Abel Smith Lecture Theatre (#23), St Lucia