Khmernews

The trial of Ieng Thirith will be on April 21, 2008 while the trial of Khieu Samphan will be on April 23, 2008

Posted by khmernews on July 8, 2008

A month after a hearing, on Thursday the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia decided to reject the appeal against the provisional detention of Noun Chea, the president of the National Assembly and the second brother of the Khmer Rouge regime. Judge Prak Kimsan, the head of the pre-trial chamber, told reporters after the announcement of the verdict on March 20, 2008 that the tribunal has a well-founded reason to continue the provisional detention of Noun Chea. “We have a well-founded reason to continue the provisional detention and reject the appeal against it,” said Judge Prak Kimsan. Wearing a short sleeve shirt and standing with a cane at the dock, Noun Chea was not allowed to say anything while the judge read out the verdict.

Mr. Sun Arun, Noun Chea’s co-lawyer, expressed his regret on the decision of the five judges of the tribunal. “I really regret because my request was rejected,” said Sun Arun. It should be noticed that Noun Chea, 82, was the former president of Khmer Rouge people’s representative assembly and the second brother of Pol Pot regime. He has been charged with the crimes against humanity and war crimes which caused the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million Cambodian people from 1975 to 1979. The co-investigating judges decided to detain Noun Chea because they are worried that he could exert pressure on witnesses, destroy evidence or flee abroad.

Mr. Ysa Mussa, Khmer Rouge tribunal project coordinator of ADHOC organization, said that the detention of Noun Chea is right. “The decision is right; it follows both international and local laws. But Ieng Thirith is different. Her detention may affect her health,” he said.

On Thursday morning, the tribunal also announced its decision that allows the civil parties to join every process of the trial in the future. However, the trial of Noun Chea on February 07-08, 2008 was severely criticized because of the controversy in the trial, and the judges have to spend nearly a month to make a decision on whether to release Noun Chea or not. Noun Chea’s trial was like a game while the tribunal will face the budgetary shortfalls in April.

Five former Khmer Rouge leaders and people most responsible for the Pol Pot regime are in the detention cell of the tribunal. Noun Chea, Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary have been charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes, while Ieng Thirith, the minister of social affairs of Khmer Rouge regime and Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, the former head of the notorious Tuol Sleng interrogation centre, have been charged with crimes against humanity.

Among the five people, only Kaing Guek Eav confessed the guilt whereas Noun Chea, Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith and Khieu Samphan did not. Moreover, Khieu Samphan also claimed that Vietnam was deeply involved with the Khmer Rouge regime, but until now he does not show any evidence to prove it yet.

The officials from the tribunal said that the hearings of appeal by two other former Khmer Rouge leaders have been scheduled. Ieng Thirith, former minister of social affairs and Ieng Sary’s wife, will come to the dock on April 21, 2008 while Khieu Samphan, former chairman of Democratic Kampuchea State Presidium, will appear before the court on April 23, 2008. Ieng Sary is trying by all means to get permission to be treated at his house despite being charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The civil societies and some observers said that the co-judges of the tribunal will not release Khieu Sampham and Ieng Thirith from provisional detention. If the tribunal released Khieu Sampham and Ieng Thirith from the provisional detention, it means that the tribunal destroys itself. Additionally, the Cambodian people and the donors will lose confidence on this tribunal.

Cambodian people living outside and inside the country want to see the trial of the Khmer Rouge leaders in the near future in order to find out who was the initiator of the Khmer Rouge regime and the reasons why this regime killed so many people. Therefore, the tribunal should not delay its judicial process because those Khmer Rouge leaders are very old while some are seriously ill.

Unofficial Translation
Extracted from Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol 15, # 3419, Saturday and Sunday, March 22-23, 2008.

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