CAMBODIANS all over the country return to their jobs this week with the conclusion of the Pchum Ben festival, having participated in religious ceremonies and made offerings to their deceased ancestors. At the Khmer Rouge tribunal, things were no different.
Court spokesman Dim Sovannarom said yesterday that over the holiday, the four suspects in the court’s second case – former Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary, social action minister Ieng Thirith, head of state Khieu Samphan and Brother No 2 Nuon Chea – had met with three monks who presided over an offering ceremony at the detention centre on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.
The four are housed there along with former Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, who in July became the first defendant convicted at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, as the tribunal is formerly known. “The ECCC considers like the international standards, so the detention centre has to respect the rights of the accused,” Dim Sovannarom said. As a Christian, Duch did not participate in the ceremony, held on October 2, Dim Sovannarom added.
“The detention centre respects charged persons who practice Buddhism or Christian religion,” he said, and noted that ceremonies related to other holidays had been staged in the past.