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Prosecutors appeal release of Ieng Thirith

Prosecutors appeal release of Ieng Thirith

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Former Khmer Rouge social action minister Ieng Thirith listens during a hearing at the Khmer Rouge tribunal on the outskirts of Phnom Penh in June. Photo by: Eccc/Pool

Court prosecutors today appealed the Khmer Rouge Trial Chamber’s decision to unconditionally release Ieng Thirith, court sources told the Post.

British prosecutor Andrew Cayley and his Cambodian counterpart Chea Leang had 24 hours to decide whether they would appeal the Trial Chamber’s decision on Ieng Thirith’s fitness to stand trial and unconditional release, which was released yesterday evening.

The Trial Chamber determined to unconditionally release Ieng Thirith as there was “no prospect” of her being fit to stand trial and the national and international judges of the chamber could not agree on the likelihood of her dementia improving. As a result of the disagreement, the chamber ruled in favour of Ieng Thirith’s fair trial rights and ordered her unconditional release.

The Supreme Court Chamber has 48 hours to consider the appeal and issue a final decision on whether Ieng Thirith will be unconditionally released from the tribunal detention facility where she has been detained since her arrest in November 2007.

Yesterday’s Trial Chamber decision came after months of deliberations as to whether former Khmer Rouge Social Action Minister Ieng Thirith had the mental capacity to stand trial in Case 002.

Today, the Trial Chamber also announced a delay in the hearing of evidence in Case 002. Opening statements begin Monday and the chamber was due to begin hearing evidence in the first trial in Case 002 a week later on Monday, November 28. However, without offering explanation, the Chamber has decided it will not hear evidence until the week beginning December 5, leaving just two weeks in which evidence will be heard before the tribunal adjourns for nearly a month over the Christmas period.

Earlier this year, international pressure was mounting on the tribunal to begin Case 002 in 2011.

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