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Samphan team takes issue with trial’s scope

Samphan team takes issue with trial’s scope

The defence team for Khieu Samphan has appealed the Khmer Rouge tribunal trial chamber’s decision to limit the scope of the second phase of Case 002, saying the move was flawed in its reasoning and violated the rights of its client.

The court’s severance decision limited the scope of Case 002/02 to a certain number of crime sites, which the prosecution maintained at the time would provide a “representative” sampling of all of the remaining charges in the indictment.

Proceedings for the second phase of the case haven’t begun, while a verdict in the first phase, or Case 002/01, is expected in the coming months.

In its filing, dated May 5, the former Khmer Rouge head of state’s defence team argued that the severance failed to address the issue of the individual crime sites that would be left out of Case 002/02, and that the trial chamber had placed expediency over their client’s rights. The defence team said it was unable to plot out a legal strategy for the next phase without knowing the fate of the remaining charges.

After the trial chamber’s decision to first divide Case 002 into multiple subtrials, the Supreme Court Chamber found that it had, according to the filing, “committed the error of not furnishing a ‘tangible plan’” for future trials.

“It is clear that the Chamber has committed the same error,” Monday’s filing states.

“What’s more, the other circumstances that prevailed at the time of the preceding severances are still an issue,” it continues. “In effect, in the contested decision, the Chamber constantly puts at the fore the speed of the proceedings and reiterates that its principal preoccupation is being able to ‘pronounce a judgment supporting a certain number of accusations enunciated in the indictment and while the Accused, the civil parties and the victims are still alive’.”

Monday’s filing came two days after Samphan was sent to hospital, according to court spokesman Neth Pheaktra.

“He was sent to hospital on May 3, Saturday, and now he remains in hospital with a cold . . . and fever,” he said, adding that the ailment was not serious. “Right now, he is getting better, and he remains in the hospital [under] the doctor’s control. As you know, [he] is very old, 82 years old. So when he gets a cold or fever he needs to be sent to the hospital.”

In late April, the war crimes court officially accepted the results of a recent medical examination of its two defendants – Samphan and Nuon Chea – saying in a pair of filings that the octogenarians were “capable of meaningful participation in [their] own defence and [are] therefore fit to stand trial”.

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