Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - KRT to let detainees converse

KRT to let detainees converse

KRT to let detainees converse

Tribunal judges have ended the segregation of defendants at the UN-backed court

JUDGES at the Khmer Rouge tribunal have ended the segregation of the five defendants currently in pretrial detention, giving them permission to talk with one other.

The decision, which was made public Wednesday, was a response to an appeal made by Nuon Chea's defence lawyers, who argued that the provisions of their client's detention were too restrictive.

"There can be no reason relating to investigation purposes justifying that contacts between the five charged persons currently detained at the [court] detention facility be restricted," the court decision, dated September 26, stated.

The decision overrides an earlier order made by the co-investigating judges, who feared that if the defendants were allowed to socialise, they could collude to tamper with evidence or put pressure on witnesses.

Son Arun, co-lawyer for Nuon Chea, called the decision a "victory".

"It is a good result," he told the Post Wednesday.

The decision said international human rights norms were one of the reasons behind amending the rule, citing a European Commission of Human Rights decision that found it to be "a serious measure to exclude a prisoner from all or almost all contact with normal prison society for a long period".

It also noted that "detainees are normally not kept separately in Cambodian prisons", and that the co-investigating judges "have no power to set out the conditions of detention at the ECCC detention facility, which shall remain under the authority of the Chief of Detention".

Nuon Chea, who is being held for war crimes and crimes against humanity, had his pretrial detention extended a year earlier this month.

Court spokesman Reach Sambath declined comment Wednesday.

See related story

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,