Former Khmer Rouge “Brother Number 2’’ Nuon Chea is fit to stand trial in Case 002, the tribunal’s Trial Chamber said in a decision published yesterday.
Nuon Chea, 85, and co-accused Ieng Thirith, 79, were the subjects of fitness to stand trial examinations and hearings in August, for the Trial Chamber to decide whether they were in sufficient mental and physical health to participate meaningfully in the proceedings.
Nuon Chea, who was taken into pre-trial detention in 2007, has suffered from cardiovascular disease following a stroke in 1995. A geriatrician appointed by the Trial Chamber said at the hearing in August that none of Nuon Chea’s clinical conditions affected his fitness to stand trial.
Defence lawyers for Nuon Chea disputed the findings and retained their own medical professional to examine Nuon Chea, claiming that their expert did not agree with the methods or conclusions of the court-appointed geriatrician.
“The Chamber finds the Accused to have the capacity to meaningfully participate in proceedings and to sufficiently exercise his fair trial rights,” the decision yesterday said.
The Trial Chamber concluded its decision with a sharp warning to the Nuon Chea defence team “against further unauthorized disclosure of confidential or strictly confidential information”, alleging that lawyers had provided confidential documents to an external medical consultant.
Andrew Ianuzzi, co-defence counsel for Nuon Chea, said the team was considering whether to appeal.
“[The court] try to use confidentiality to hide embarrassing truths – in this case, that they picked the wrong man to examine our client,” he said.
The Trial Chamber is yet to issue a decision on former Khmer Rouge Social Action Minister Ieng Thirith’s fitness to stand trial.