Seriously Ill Ieng Sary Appears Before Court

Posted by khmernews on July 9, 2008


The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) conducted the hearing of appeal against the provisional detention by Ieng Sary on June 30 while he is in a critical condition which he could not sit and listen in the hearing.

Reach Sambath, spokesman for the tribunal to try former Khmer Rouge leaders, said that there were approximately 500 people and international guests on the opening day of the appeal hearing by Ieng Sary against his provisional detention, adding that the people had been invited from various provinces. “Yesterday morning, Ieng Sary was not well and could not sit for long, [so] he was placed to rest in a room near the court room,” he said.

On the hearing day Ieng Sary was brought to stand behind the dock with the assistance of the guards. He could not stand up by himself. On that morning, though Ieng Sary was not well, through his co-lawyers he could respond clearly to the judges.

The hearing of appeal against the provisional detention by Ieng Sary was taken part by Co-prosecutors Yet Chakrya and William Smith, Co-investigating Judges You Bunleng and Marcel Lemond, and Ieng Sary’s Co-defence lawyers Ang Udom and Michael Karnavas, while the Pre-Trial Chamber was headed by Judge Prak Kimsan.

American lawyer Kanarvas said that putting Ieng Sary under detention had made Ieng Sary’s health condition worse. “Therefore, we request that he be allowed to go home in order that he is capable and has freedom to attend the trial,” he said.

Ieng Sary has been charged with crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the Geneva Convention dated on August 12, 1949, defined and punishable under Articles 5,6,29 (new) and 39 (new) of the Law on the establishment of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, dated on October 27, 2004.

On July 18, 2007 co-prosecutors of the ECCC issued an Introductory Submission to the co-investigating judges to open the investigation and request for the arrest and detention of five suspects including Ieng Sary, alias Vann.

The co-prosecutors requested that Ieng Sary be detained provisionally based on well-founded reasons to believe that Ieng Sary have committed the crimes stated above. Therefore, the provisional detention is a necessary measure to prevent exertion of pressure on witnesses, to ensure the presence of the Charged Person during the proceedings, to protect his personal safety and to preserve the public order.

The Provisional Detention Order claimed that the Charged Person (Ieng Sary) has been placed under investigation of Crimes against Humanity and Grave Breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, crimes defined and punishable under Articles 5, 6, 29 (new) and 39 (new) of the Law on the establishment of the Extraordinary Chambers, dated 27 October 2004.

Ieng Sary disputed the crimes which he is charged, declaring: “there are certain accusations that I cannot accept” and demanding that proof of his guilt be provided. He added: “I would like to know the truth about a dark period in our history. I do not know where the truth lies. I am very happy that this Court has been established because it will be an opportunity for me to discover the truth and also to share what I know”.

He asked to be left at liberty, fearing that he would die in prison before knowing the truth, and claiming that, if he dies, the first victim will be his family, but the second will be the Court, which would thus lose an important witness and be criticised. He stated that he has no intention of interfering with the proceedings, noting that he has been at liberty for many years, informed of the possibility of being charged for a long time, and that he would have had the opportunity to intervene with the witnesses but has never done so. He observed that he is old and sick. He isnsited on the total absence of any danger of flight, and declared himself ready to appear whenever summoned, adding that his age and state of health would not allow him to flee, which he could have done a long time ago if he had so wished.

As regards the danger of revenge, he pointed out that, since he rallied the Government, he has never received the slightest threat, either in Pailin or Phnom Penh. On the contrary, he recalled that after being convicted by the Revolutionary Tribunal in Phnom Penh on the 19th of August 1979, he received an amnesty from the King on 14 September 1996 and that there was no trouble as a result. He stressed that it was thanks to him that the Khmer Rouge forces reintegrated the Government and argued that he had thus contributed to the re-establishment of peace. In conclusion, he requested to be left at liberty on bail.

In the provisional detention order, the co-investigating judges also considered the legal issues concerning the verdict in 1979 and the royal pardon and amnesty in 1996. Regarding the verdict in 1979, the co-investigating judges noted that “at present Ieng Sary has not been charged with genocide”

As regards the scope of the royal pardon in 1996 the co-investigating judges consider that “it is important to note that they are limited to annulment of the sentence, as well as its execution, without having any effect on the conviction decision as such. Accordingly, even if it were opposable against the ECCC, this measure would have no effect on the current prosecution, and the only issue is that of the conviction itself, which has been dealt with above.”

The amnesty, on the other hand, makes express reference to the 1994 Law. Yet, apart from an allusion to genocidal acts in its preamble, this law only refers to a number of domestic law offences subject to prosecution in accordance with national legislation applicable at the time, as well as a series of crimes against State security. Therefore, it does not cover the offences coming within the jurisdiction of the ECCC.

The provisional detention order additionally gave the reasons for the decision of the co-investigation to detain the Charged Person. “In light of the many documents and witness statements implicating [Ieng Sary], contained in the Introductory Submission, [there are well-founded reasons to believe that he committed the crimes with which he is charged,” the Order of Provisional Detention said].

The hearing of pre-trial detention appeal by Ieng Sary on this morning will continue until the afternoon and it is not hoped that the tribunal will grant him bail.

Unofficial Translation
-Extracted from Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, vol. 15, #3347, Tuesday, July 1, 2008.


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