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

  • Hun Sen to ‘step down’ if he loses Sam Rainsy bet over Kem Sokha

    Hun Sen has promised to step down as prime minister while opposition figure Sam Rainsy pledges to turn himself in as forfeits if the long-term political rivals lose a “bet” over the future of former opposition leader Kem Sokha, who is on bail awaiting trial

  • Record set for world’s longest dragon boat

    Cambodia broke the world record for the longest dragon boat – a title previously held by China, Guinness World Records adjudicator Pravin Patel said on Monday. He verified the record on the east bank of the Mekong river, in Prey Veng province’s Peamro district. “With

  • Analyst: Government appointments ‘a waste of national budget’

    The government has appointed over 200 officials as undersecretaries of state, secretaries of state, assistants and advisers at various institutions since October 1. While senior officials said the appointments were aimed at ensuring higher efficiency at the national level, social analysts said the practice is merely power-sharing

  • Rainsy ‘fallen in own trap’, PM says as Sokha ‘bet’ defended

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has defended his decision to accept a “bet” offered by opposition figure Sam Rainsy involving the “release” of former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) president Kem Sokha, denying it violated the authority of the courts. The leader of the Cambodia National