Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Samphan seeks bail in court

Samphan seeks bail in court

Samphan seeks bail in court

KRTalk logo

The intentions of former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan - both past and present - were a primary focus of the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday, with Samphan himself speaking to urge his release on bail.  

Samphan and his defence team stressed the octogenarian would strictly abide by the stipulations made in his bail request filed at the beginning of the month, including that he live in a family residence known to the court and not speak to media or witnesses.  

Standing, Samphan said: “I want to assure the court that I will be present in all proceedings until the trial is conclu-ded,” adding that he could ride to court by motorcycle.

Failing to release Samphan on bail would violate his rights, defence counsel Arthur Vercken said, given that it was unlikely either Samphan’s life or the trial would end in the near future, and “we have no visibility on when Khieu Samphan will be tried”.

Vercken noted that despite the Supreme Court Chamber’s order in February that the Trial Chamber provide a “fully reasoned” reconsideration of its decision to sever the trial into several mini-trials, the court had not clarified its plans for the mini-trials.

Samphan had been detained for five years and, given financial difficulties, health problems and the interpreters’ strike,  “You cannot say everything is moving along smoothly,” Vercken said.

Prosecutor Tarik Abdulhak, however, said Samphan’s continued detention was necess-ary to ensure he did not try to influence witnesses, as the prosecution argued he had attempted to do in 2009, when his wife visited two witnesses in Battambang.

Abdulhak said Samphan’s proposal to travel between home and the hearings posed an “unreasonable risk” that he would be attacked by vengeful victims, as he was 1991.

Vercken, however, questioned whether Cambodians cared about Samphan’s status, citing a 2010 study that found even “after a whole campaign” to educate the populace about the trial, only 11 per cent of Cambodians could name the accused.

The judges said they would announce a decision about Samphan’s bail “in due course.”

In the morning session, priest and author Francois Ponchaud testified that leaders like Samphan “had good intentions in the beginning”, and many of the worst atrocities were the decis-ions of low-level cadres.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince injured, wife dies after accident

    THE wife of former First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Ouk Phalla, 39, died while the prince was “severely” injured following a road accident in Preah Sihanouk province’s Prey Nub district on Sunday morning, officials said. Rananriddh, who is also the president of the Funcinpec

  • Bun Heang mocks US, threatens its citizens in scathing open letter

    After being hit with sanctions from the US Department of Treasury, Cambodian General Hing Bun Heang said he would retaliate against any US national who does not respect his country’s sovereignty, has ambitions to invade Cambodia or incites “traitors” in the Kingdom to do

  • Guards protest dismissals, reject claims of sharing naked photos of child

    Some 20 former security guards at the US Embassy in Phnom Penh protested on Tuesday against their dismissal. They accused their employers of falsely claiming they had viewed and shared child pornography from their mobile phones as grounds for their termination. In total, 32 personnel were dismissed

  • Ranariddh 'seriously injured', his wife dies in accident in Preah Sihanouk

    THE wife of former first prime minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh has died. Ouk Phalla succumbed to injuries sustained in a traffic accident on National Road 4 in Preah Sihanouk’s Prey Nub district this morning. She and the prince were immediately rushed to the Preah Sihanouk