Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Nuon Chea remains behind bars

Nuon Chea remains behind bars

Nuon Chea remains behind bars

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.

Presiding judge

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.

The ECCC’s

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.

Son Arun,

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.

“The charged

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

lawyer present.

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.

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