The health complaints of the accused continued to overshadow proceedings at the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday, with defence, civil party and prosecution teams all asking for more preparation time for hearings pushed forward due to the continued hospitalisation of Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan.
After last week’s hospitalisations of the two ex-leaders, the court had opted this week to hear statements on case documents rather than witnesses.
However, Judge Silvia Cartwright yesterday announced that the Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea teams had “both indicated their unreadiness to make oral submissions” about scheduled documents and would have until February 8 to submit written statements.
“We note that both their clients have been hospitalised in the past week. Nevertheless, [the documents’ use] has been an issue available since December last year,” she said, warning that the teams often would have to make preparations “at quite short notice” due to exigencies like the ongoing health problems of the accused.
Earlier in the day, Khieu Samphan co-counsel Anta Guissé stated: “Bearing in mind that my client is admitted to hospital, we cannot make any submissions at this stage.”
Civil party lawyers also excused their team from speaking yesterday, citing lack of preparation time.
The prosecution presented several documents in the morning relating to Khmer Rouge purges but also requested more time to “properly prepare” when asked by Cartwright about its readiness to push forward.
Nuon Chea counsel Son Arun said after court yesterday that a doctor’s report from the day before stated that Nuon Chea would need to remain in hospital for about a week more.
Arun said although his client was “a little bit better than yesterday” and was no longer on oxygen, his lung capacity “has not returned to normal yet”.
To contact the reporter on this story: Justine Drennan at firstname.lastname@example.org