Date Not yet Set For Hearing of Appeal by Nuon Chea

Posted by khmernews on November 12, 2007

Chan Chamnan

Ly Kim Seng, wife of Nuon Chea, former president of the National Assembly, brother number two of the Khmer Rouge regime, has recently voiced her concerns that Nuon Chea might die if he is not released. However, the Khmer Rouge Tribunal officials claimed that Nuon Chea’s health condition is normal and has been carefully checked by expert doctors such as Cambodian, French and Thai doctors.
From Pailin, Ly Kim Seng told a journalist by phone that Nuon Chea’s health was not stable and that his blood pressure was not normal. “Therefore, if he is still detained at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, he might die of illnesses and old age,” she said. “He is alone and has difficulty in walking. [I’m afraid] that he might fall down. He has high blood pressure, and his heart also has problem. We don’t know what will happen to him.”

Nuon Chea was brought to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal on September 19, 2007 and charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes. Son Arun, Nuon Chea’s defense lawyer, said that he had already filed a complaint to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal to release Nuon Chea on bail, and that but there was no response yet.

Son Arun claimed that Nuon Chea had rights to living outside the detention as the Co-Prosecutors and Co-Investigating Judges had violated some of the legal procedures.

Concerning the problem, Reach Sambath, spokesman for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, said that the Pre-Trial Chamber had received the complaint from Nuon Chea’s lawyer. However, the spokesman did not comment about the exact date for the hearing of the appeal by Nuon Chea.

“Nuon Chea has two lawyers. One is a Cambodian and the other is a foreigner. The foreign lawyer has just arrived,” said Reach Sambath. “Like Kaing Guek Eav’s lawyer who filed the complaint to free Kaing Guek Eav, known as Duch, from the detention and whose dossier has been accepted by the Pre-Trial Chamber, Lawyer Son Arun has already filed the application to release Nuon Chea on bail. The Pre-Trial Chamber is scrutinizing the case and will tell the date of the hearing of his appeal later.”

The Khmer Rouge regime has been condemned for crimes of the mass killings of over 1.7 million people between April 17, 1975 and early January 1979.

To date, only Kaing Geuk Eav, aka Duch, former chief of Tuol Sleng (S21) torture center, and Nuon Chea, former president of Democratic Kampuchea National Assembly, are being detained awaiting trial. Other 3 suspects [recommended by the Co-Prosecutors] are still living with freedom.

The other 3 suspects are thought to include Ieng Sary, former deputy prime minister, foreign minister of the Khmer Rouge regime; Ieng Thirith, whose real name was Khieu Thirith, former social affairs minister of the Khmer Rouge regime; and Khieu Samphan, former president of the Khmer Rouge State Presidium.

Observers have expressed their concerns over the arrest of Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal while the arrest of Khieu Samphan will not be a problem. This is because Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith are living abroad with an excuse of treating their illnesses. Moreover, it has been said recently that Ieng Thirith has metal illness.

On Thursday November 8, Cambodian hybrid tribunal’s prosecutors and prosecutors from other war crimes courts such as in Former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and Sierra Leon made a joint statement claiming that former senior Khmer Rouge leaders related to the mass killings during the Khmer Rouge regime would not be able to escape justice. The claim is easy said while the process of the tribunal is so slow and thorny. Especially, the administration and corruption in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal have been criticized very often.

The Khmer Rouge Tribunal has scheduled November 20 for the first public hearing of the appeal by Kaing Guek Eav (DUCH) against order of his provisional detention. National and international communities are observing the process very carefully since they want to know the capacity of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, which has been spoiled by corruption. Meanwhile, they want the court to schedule Nuon Chea’s hearing too.

Observers of the process of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal say that although the tribunal can hold the hearing of Duch’s case on November 20, 2007, the tribunal will still face many other obstacles. Among those obstacles, the arrest of Ieng Sary and his wife Ieng Thirith is becoming a hot topic for national and international observers at present. Another obstacle which may obstruct the process of the trial of former Khmer Rouge leaders is the budgetary shortage.

All Cambodians living inside and outside the country want the trial of former Khmer Rouge leaders to get underway soon so that the masterminds and the reasons of the mass murder of 1.7 million people during the Khmer Rouge regime will be revealed. Therefore, the government of Cambodia and the United Nations must find way to open the trial of former Khmer Rouge leader as soon as possible in order that the funds are not spent uselessly.

Analysts estimate that if the Khmer Rouge Tribunal is not under political influence, the arrest of Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal will be made soon. In contrast, if it is, the arrest will still be delayed.

Unofficial Translation
-Extracted from Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol. 14, #3309, Monday, November 12, 2007.


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