Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ieng Sary refused release, amnesty still in question

Ieng Sary refused release, amnesty still in question

Ieng Sary refused release, amnesty still in question

3-story-1.jpg
3-story-1.jpg

Former Khmer Rouge foreign minister will remain behind bars, but the issue of 'double jeopardy' remains unresolved

Photo by: KhEM SOVANNARA

Ieng Sary (left) stands in a courtroom at the Khmer Rouge tribunal in Phnom Penh on Friday.

KHMER Rouge tribunal judges Friday refused to release ailing regime leader Ieng Sary from pre-trial detention, but have not made a ruling on the issue of double jeopardy ahead of the former foreign minister's  likely trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Lawyers for the 82-year-old claimed in July that their client was "too ill to stand" and requested hospitalisation as an alternative form of detention.

They also argued that a 12-year-old royal pardon and amnesty from prosecution under the Kingdom's law banning the Khmer Rouge exempts him from prosecution at the UN-backed genocide court.

Judge Prak Kimsan said Friday that there was "no evidence for an immediate need for long-term hospitalisation."

But he added that information regarding the amnesty was  "too vague" to allow for a decision on whether Ieng Sary was being prosecuted for the same crimes covered in the 1979 trial.

"Considering these conclusions, the pretrial chamber will not address further the submissions of the parties concerning the validity of the royal decree," he said.

Yet Chakrya, deputy co-prosecutor, confirmed that the issue of ne bis in idem - the civil law equivalent of double jeopardy -  was not yet resolved and would continue into the investigation.

"It's too early to say what he'll be on trial for," he told reporters after the hearing.

But despite the issue of amnesty  remaining  unanswered, he said that the pre-trial chamber decision had "opened the door to [Ieng Sary's] prosecution and trial".

Ieng Sary was found guilty in absentia of genocide and crimes against humanity by a Vietnamese-backed tribunal in 1979 and sentenced to death.

In 1996 he was pardoned by then-king Norodom Sihanouk in exchange for the defection of his troops. The validity of the pardon has been an ongoing debate, particularly during his bail hearing in June this year, with the defense arguing that their client should be commended for brokering peace between the Khmer Rouge and the Cambodian government. 

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom may hire Turkish power ship

    Cambodia is considering negotiating with Turkey to hire a 200MW-capacity power ship to meet electricity demands as the country faces an ongoing electrical shortage, according to the prime minister. Speaking to garment workers in Pursat province on Wednesday, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Electricite du

  • ‘Kingdom lacks up to 400MW in available electricity’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the general public, hoteliers and businesspeople with generators to use them as back-up as the Electricity Authority of Cambodia cannot generate enough electricity to meet needs due to low water levels in power station reservoirs. On Saturday evening

  • EDC tackles power shortfall

    Electrcite Du Cambodge (EDC) on Monday issued a statement updating the public on its efforts to tackle insufficient electricity supplies during the ongoing dry season. Reductions in electricity prices have resulted in a steady increase in consumers in the Kingdom, while local and international investors

  • African swine fever spreads to VN-Cambodia border

    African swine fever has spread to parts of Vietnam that border Cambodia’s Ratanakkiri and Kratie provinces, a Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official said on Friday. Tan Phannara, the General Directorate of Animal Health and Production director-general, told a Phnom Penh workshop that