The Khmer Rouge Tribunal judges announced March 20 that
defendant Nuon Chea will not be released on bail, and that civil parties will
be allowed to participate in the pre-trial hearings for the rest of the
defendants being put on trial.
Prak Kim San said Nuon Chea will not be released because there are
“well-founded” reasons to believe the former Khmer Rouge “Brother Number 2”
committed the crimes with which he has been charged. He is charged with crimes
against humanity and war crimes by the UN-backed court.
Pre-Trial Chamber also announced that civil party participation, even during
the pre-trial stages, was valid and in line with the court’s internal rules.
defense attorney for Nuon Chea, said he agreed that civil parties be allowed to
participate in the trial, but said he did not think they should have been
allowed to participate at his client’s pre-trial detention hearing in February.
“It was the
wrong time to allow them to participate,” Arun said.
Arun added he
was “not satisfied” with the decision to deny his client bail. He said that
Nuon Chea, who appeared tired and confused during the hearing, was not in the
best of health and that he had requested a doctor be allowed to assess his
client’s overall mental and physical health.
“He has only one
kidney,” Arun said. “I had very much hoped the court could have released him to
join his family again. It would have been better for him.”
Arun said he had no idea when Nuon
Chea’s actual trial would start.
Judge Prak Kim San said Nuon Chea’s decision to waive his right to legal
counsel during his first meeting with the
court’s investigating judges following his arrest in September last year was unequivocal, voluntary and therefore valid.
party was repeatedly informed of his right to have a lawyer present,” he said,
adding Nuon Chea had frequently asserted he was fine to proceed without a
Judge Prak Kim
San said there was no information in the case file or among the evidence
presented by the defense team that suggested Nuon Chea was hampered by old age
and unable to make decisions.
The court also
announced that the pre-trial appeal of the
detention of Ieng Thirith, the former Khmer Rouge minister for social
action, will be held on April 21 at 9.30am at the court on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. It will be
open to the public.
The appeal brief
against the provisional detention of former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu
Samphan will be held on April 23 at 9.30am. Only the discussion regarding the
grounds for the provisional detention will be public.