Nuon Chea’s Appeal Hearing Delayed To An Unspecified Date

Posted by khmernews on February 22, 2008

Koh Keo

Phnom Penh: In the morning of February 4, 2008, the Pre-Trial Chamber held the hearing on the appeal by Nuon Chea’s lawyers against the provisional detention, but it was delayed to an unspecified date due to the absence of a Dutch lawyer of Nuon Chea. The postponement has caused a lot of controversies.
It is reported from the Pre-Trial Chamber that the public hearing in that morning was attended by PTC President Prak Kimsan, Co-Prosecutors Chea Leang and Robert Petit, Co-Investigating Judges You Bunleng and Marcel Lemonde, Former Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea’s co-defence lawyers Son Arun and Victor Koppe. But Nuon Chea’s Dutch lawyer – Michiel Pestman- was absent, while Victor Koppe was not legally qualified to defend. As a result, the hearing was adjourned.  In the hearing, 3 other lawyers Chhon Kimsour, Loa Chunthy, and Ny Chandy participated as the representatives of the plaintiffs.

Co-Prosecutor Chea Leang responded to the request for adjournment by Lawyer Son Arun in the hearing that it seemed to lack something when Dutch Co-Lawyer Koppe had not fulfilled the requirements to defend his client while Pestman was not present, but that since the hearing and time were very useful, if the hearing was not continued, it would loss many advantages.

Lawyer Chhun Kimsour said that he agreed with Co-Prosecutor Chea Leang [because] although a co-lawyer was absent there were other co-lawyers. Meanwhile, Chhun Kimsour suggested continuing the hearing. Loa Chunthy and Ny Chandy, also the lawyers of the plaintiffs, reasoned similarly and requested the Pre-Trial Chamber to carry on the hearing. They claimed that the accused was already very old and that if it was delayed, it was feared that results would be disastrous.

Nuon Chea’s co-lawyer Son Arun raised various reasons such as late information. He claimed that since the information from the tribunal was late, another co-lawyer could not defend, so the hearing must be delayed. Son Arun promised the court that if the Pre-Trial Chamber adjourned the hearing, he would try to contact his co-lawyer immediately and informed the tribunal as soon as possible.

Former Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea, accused of his involvement with killing of millions of Cambodians, asked the Pre-Trial Chamber to express his opinion. “Why should the today’s hearing be held? If I have only one Cambodian lawyer, then it is not consistent with international standards,” he said.

Reportedly, after around an hour of deliberations, the judges ruled to adjourn the hearing.

Many Cambodians who participated in the hearing have expressed different views. Some blamed Pestman for not trying to fulfill his tasks well. Others blamed the Pre-Trial Chamber for not communicating with [lawyers] well prior to the hearing.  They even accused the court of its complexity with the delay of the tribunal’s process. An old man who gave an interview with foreign journalists said that if the Pre-Trial Chamber wanted to postpone the hearing, they should think about the benefits of millions Cambodians who are victims and waiting longingly for justice [first].

Former Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea, 82, was born in Wat Kor, Sangkae, Battambang. His father Lao Liv and his mother Dos Nhanh were deceased. He has a wife, Ly Kim, with 3 children. They are currently living in Psar Prum village, Pailin commune, Pailin.

Nuon Chea has been investigated on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes. Nuon Chea was arrested and brought for detention at the Khmer Rouge tribunal on September 19, 2007.

Unofficial Translation
-Extracted from Kampuchea Thmey, Vol. 07, #1563, Tuesday, February 5, 2008.


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