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KRT health hearings

Two aging Khmer Rouge leaders are expected to appear in court later this month for hearings on whether they are physically fit to stand their lengthy war crimes trial.

The Khmer Rouge tribunal’s Trial Chamber said in an order made public on Friday that it would convene up to three days of hearings starting August 29 related to the health of Khmer Rouge Brother No 2 Nuon Chea, 85, and Ieng Thirith, 79, the regime’s Social Action Minister.

Nuon Chea’s counsel Son Arun told The Post last month he had “no confidence” his client would be able to attend full trial hearings.

John Campbell, a geriatrician from New Zealand, was appointed by the court in April to conduct medical examinations of Nuon Chea, Ieng Thirith and Ieng Sary, the KR Foreign Minister. Former KR head of state Khieu Samphan, 80, has not contested his fitness to stand trial.

The Trial Chamber said the hearings would be “presumptively public” but noted a need to balance the rights of the accused to privacy regarding medical information against the public’s need to know the basis for judicial decisions.

The four face charges including crimes against humanity and genocide for their leadership during the Khmer Rouge’s brutal reign, but many have voiced concern that the court will not finish its trial while they are still alive. Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith excused themselves from June proceedings on several occasions.

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