Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ailing former KR foreign minister next in the dock

Ailing former KR foreign minister next in the dock

Ailing former KR foreign minister next in the dock

090226_02_1.jpg
090226_02_1.jpg

Ieng Sary to face the KR tribunal today for a bail hearing, in which lawyers will argue he needs proper medical attention.

Photo by:
ECCC POOL/AFP

Former Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary appears in court last year.  

DEFENCE lawyers for former Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary are to challenge their client's second year of pretrial detention today at a bail hearing, arguing that pretrial confinement is hastening a decline in their client's already frail health.

The former regime leader was sent to Calmette Hospital Monday evening after passing blood in his urine and returned to detention Wednesday afternoon, according to court officials.

It was Ieng Sary's ninth hospitalisation since his arrest - the most of any of the five ageing suspects detained. He is afflicted with heart disease and high blood pressure, and, since 1994, has undergone four heart operations, including a double-bypass.

"We're going to make the case that it's necessary for Ieng Sary to receive not just proper medical treatment, but proper medical examinations," his international co-lawyer, Michael Karnavas, told the Post via phone.

I am stunned that they [the eccc] don't want to hear from a medical expert.

"Seeing as he is in the court's care, they are responsible to provide him proper medical attention, which is integral to provisional detention," he added.

On Monday, the Pre-trial Chamber said it would consider a request by the defence to allow the chief doctor for detainees at the International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia, Paulus Falk, to testify on Ieng Sary's condition via remote video link at Thursday's hearing.

But as a decision had not been made as of Wednesday, and as it takes at least 24 hours to set up the video connection, Karnavas said, it was unlikely it would be heard today, if at all.  

"Effectively, they have already made up their minds," he said.

"[But] frankly I am stunned that they don't want to hear from a medical expert ... who is uniquely qualified for this situation ... and find out what the actual state of his health is," he said, adding that previously, all sides of the court had made unqualified comments on the state of his client's health.

Son has lost hope for bail

Ieng Vuth, a son of Ieng Sary and deputy governor of Pailin province, told the Post Tuesday he had "lost hope of getting him out on bail to stay at home for treatment." He said he had visited his father in prison on several occasions and had noticed a steady decline in his health.

Ieng Sary is charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes, and has been detained at the Extraordinary Chamber's detention facility since his arrest in 2007.

The 83-year-old is one of five suspects being held for their role in the murderous 1975-79 regime.

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