Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - KR suspects face court




KR suspects face court

KR suspects face court

eccc_pool
Nuon Chea, aka Brother No 2, puts on sunglasses during a hearing at the ECCC today.

Three Khmer Rouge leaders staged bids for release today at Cambodia’s war crimes tribunal, the first time defendants in the court’s historic second case have appeared alongside one another in a public hearing.

Lawyers for former Khmer Rouge Brother No 2 Nuon Chea, head of state Khieu Samphan and social action minister Ieng Thirith argued that the court had not met the legal requirements to continue holding their clients in detention ahead of their trial, which is expected to begin within six months.

“We should not allow the bending or breaking of internal rules just because they are inconvenient,” said Jasper Pauw, a lawyer for Nuon Chea.

The Nuon Chea defence argued that the court’s Pre-Trial Chamber had not rendered a reasoned decision on its appeal of last year’s indictment within the window during which it could still compel the detention of the Khmer Rouge ideologue.

Lawyers for Khieu Samphan and Ieng Thirith said their clients had not been brought to trial within four months of the indictments as, they claimed, court rules require.

Prosecutors said, however, that the defendants’ continued detention was lawful and that there had been no recent change in circumstances that could compel their release.

Public order, the prosecutors added, could be threatened if the suspects were freed.

As in their previous appearances before the court, concerns about the health of the ageing detainees were brought to the fore today.

Ieng Thirith was helped out of the hearing shortly after it began, waiving her right to participate.

Nuon Chea, who donned sunglasses to protect his eyes from the lights of the courtroom, complained of dizziness during the morning session and left early as well.

Only Khieu Samphan stayed throughout, addressing the judges briefly following remarks from his lawyer.

“I only have one suggestion: Please abide by the law,” said Khieu Samphan, who served on the Central Committee of a regime that abolished property, evacuated cities and is thought responsible for the deaths of more than two million Cambodians. “That’s all, thank you your honours.”

Former Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary was the only Case 002 defendant not present today.

His lawyers requested earlier this month that the upcoming trial be conducted in half-day sessions in order to accommodate the 85-year-old’s lack of energy and frail health.

Pen Moeun, 72, of Kampong Speu province, said outside the hearing today that he would be incensed to see the defendants released.

“They are unforgivable. I lost so many relatives during the Khmer Rouge period,” he said.

“The court should not free these people because the crimes they committed caused so many people to be cruelly killed.”

Trial Chamber president Nil Nonn said the court would issue decisions on the release requests within the next few weeks.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • ‘Bad news is an investor’s best friend’ – unlocking investment potential in Cambodia

    It is time to shop. Economic woes provide good pickings for investors if they know where to look The poem If, written by English Nobel laureate poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling for his son circa 1895, is widely perceived as fatherly advice for John who would

  • PM requests Russia’s Covid vaccine

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Russia provide Cambodia with its Covid-19 vaccine after the former announced it planned on mass vaccinating its population next month. The request came on Thursday through the prime minister’s Facebook page as he met with Anatoly Borovik,

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped

  • Kingdom, China rebut basis for US sanctions

    The Council for the Development of Cambodia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Tianjin Union Investment Development Group Co Ltd (Tianjin) have responded to US sanctions on Union Development Group Co Ltd (UDG), a Chinese-owned company currently developing the sprawling $3.8 billion Dara

  • Influenza breaks out in eight provinces

    Nearly 600 people have been infected with influenza in eight provinces in the past month, Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said. The ministry is advising extreme caution. A report released by Vandine on Saturday said the Ministry of Health observed transmissions of influenza between August 15