Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ieng Sary health woes prompt adjournment

Ieng Sary health woes prompt adjournment

Ieng Sary health woes prompt adjournment

120522_02b

Former Khmer Rouge Foreign Minister Ieng Sary attends a hearing at the ECCC in 2010. Photograph: ECCC/POOL/Mak Remissa

Former Khmer Rouge Minister for Foreign Affairs Ieng Sary has been undergoing emergency treatment for bronchitis since Thursday, according to a medical report read aloud at the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday.

Judges adjourned proceedings until Wednesday, when they will hear from doctors who have been treating the octogenarian at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital since his evacuation to the facility.

“Having read the report that clearly indicates that Ieng Sary cannot be discharged from the hospital until [Tuesday], the chamber now decided that [Monday and Tuesday] proceedings cannot go on,” Trial Chamber president Nil Nonn said.

Ieng Sary defence counsel Michael Karnavas told the court that he had been blocked from visiting his client in hospital.

“It would be good if the lawyers were informed about his medical condition. Normally, we are not; normally, we are kept in the dark,” Karnavas said of his client, who has been hospitalised several times since his detention at the tribunal began in 2007.

Speaking to the Post by telephone yesterday, Karnavas said that he had visited his client at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital – something previously barred by Calmette Hospital.

“My impression is that my client is probably best to have the week off and rest,” Karnavas said. “And there will be no waiver [of his right to be present at trial] provided for witnesses testifying to his case particularly.”

Karnavas said the former diplomat was very active in his defence and gave lawyers guidance and advice during proceedings.

“With his present condition, we don’t know yet how capable he is to follow proceedings,” Karnavas said. “If he falls asleep in the holding cell, that is not active participation.

“That would be nothing but a charade to suggest that he is following the proceedings.”

Open Society Justice Initiative trial monitor Clair Duffy said the decision to adjourn was “absolutely correct”.

“We are exploring issues of policies, and authority over individuals. It is very hard for the Trial Chamber to proceed without him,” Duffy said.

“If this unravels over a period of time, there might be other measures the court needs to consider, like severing him from the proceedings, and that will come down to what his health conditions are and how likely they are to worsen,” she added.

Ieng Sary’s wife, Ieng Thirith, has already been severed from proceedings in Case 002 for health reasons.

The “first lady of the regime” has been diagnosed with dementia believed to be caused by Alzeheimer’s.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bridget Di Certo at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • Temi tourism project approved by the CDC

    The $500.4 million Tourism, Ecological, Marine and International (Temi) tourism project has been approved by the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), according to a notice on its Facebook page on Monday. The project is part of Chinese-owned Union City Development Group Co Ltd’s (

  • Rainsy will return at ‘favourable time’

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy on Saturday suggested he would not return to Cambodia as he had previously promised, saying that like liberators King Father Norodom Sihanouk and Charles de Gaulle, he would only do so at a “favourable time”. “I will go back to Cambodia

  • US Embassy urged to stop ‘disrespecting sovereignty’

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation called on the US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Saturday to respect the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations after it called former opposition leader Kem Sokha “an innocent man” – a move deemed to be “disrespecting Cambodia’s

  • NagaWorld casino sees net profit of more than $390M last year

    Phnom Penh’s NagaWorld casino posted a 53 per cent net profit increase last year at $390.6 million, a sum which is almost equal to the combined net profit of all Cambodian commercial banks in 2017. NagaWorld’s parent company, NagaCorp Ltd, is listed on the Hong Kong