International co-lawyer for ailing Khmer Rouge tribunal defendant Ieng Sary said yesterday that daily medical reports about his client coming from the court’s detention facility were a “sham” and based on a skewed interpretation of Sary’s health.
While the 87-year-old Sary waived his right to be present in court yesterday, a common occurrence since his release from a two-month hospital stay that ended in November, attorney Michael Karnavas took issue with a daily report saying Sary’s vital signs were stable and he could follow the proceedings remotely.
He first complained about the characterisation after a morning visit to Sary and the medical personnel checking up on him.
“He was on oxygen, he couldn’t breathe, he is extremely fatigued and all he wants to do is sleep,” Karnavas later told the Trial Chamber.
“If we are going to have doctors down there, and if the doctors are not capable of making a determination of whether Mr Ieng Sary is capable of following the proceedings, then the report that the vital signs are OK and that he can follow the proceedings is a sham.”
Karnavas said in an email later in the day that when he questioned the doctor attending to his client, the response was that “it is his problem if he cannot follow the proceedings”.
Tribunal spokesman Lars Olsen said that the check-ups at the facility are routine and that any relevant information would be delivered back to the Trial Chamber.
Sary, the former Khmer Rouge minister of Foreign Affairs and the eldest of the three war crimes defendants on trial, has been occupying the detention facility all by himself of late.
The other two former senior leaders of the regime, Nuon Chea, 86, and 81-year-old Khieu Samphan, both checked into the Khmer Soviet Friendship Hospital this month after complaints of, respectively, acute bronchitis and breathing difficulties.
The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia released a statement yesterday to the effect that Chea and Samphan are still in the hospital, and it’s unknown when they will be back in the courtroom.
Most of the day was taken up in hearings related to documents relevant to the killing site Tuol Po Chrey, which the court agreed to include in an expansion of the trial’s scope late last year.
At Tuol Po Chrey, the Khmer Rouge summarily executed up to 3,000 Lon Nol soldiers and their families.
The document hearings continue today.
To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Freeman at [email protected]
International co-lawyer for defendant Ieng Sary said that daily medical reports about his client coming from the court’s detention facility were based on a skewed interpretation of Sary’s health.