Khieu Samphan Yet to Select New Co-Lawyer

Posted by khmernews on July 16, 2008

Chan Chamnan

Khieu Samphan, former Khmer Rouge State Presidium president, who has been detained at the special tribunal, is seeking a new Cambodian lawyer to represent him, according to a Khmer Rouge tribunal’s official.  Tribunal’s spokesman Reach Sambath claimed that up to present Khieu Samphan had not made any official decision to select a new co-lawyer to replace Dr. Say Bory yet.
“The Defence Support Section has sent Khieu Samphan a list from the Cambodian Bar Association. We know that he is still considering and up to now he has not officially claimed to choose anyone yet,” the spokesman said. The selection of new lawyer is being made after Dr. Say Bory announced his resignation from the position as co-lawyer for Khieu Samphan in early July. Dr. Say Bory’s resignation is due to his concern that he would not be able to represent Khieu Samphan through to the conclusion of the trial for reasons of ill health.

According to a press statement by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Say Bory will continue to represent Khieu Samphan whilst he transfers the case to the new Cambodian co-lawyer.

Although Reach Sambath could not claim when exactly Khieu Samphan would select his new Cambodian co-lawyer, Khieu Samphan has to select a new co-lawyer to replace Say Bory soon because the Khmer Rouge tribunal has planned to completely finish the hearings of appeals against the provisional detention in September or October 2008.

It should be noted that the 76-year-old former president of the Khmer Rouge State Presidium, Khieu Samphan, has been provisionally detained at the Khmer Rouge tribunal on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes since November 2007.

Khieu Samphan once boasted that he was a “patriot” and claimed that Yuon (Vietnam) was deeply involved with the Khmer Rouge regime. However, up to now, Khieu Samphan has not shown any evidence to prove his words. This makes many groups criticise Khieu Samphan for not daring to reveal the mystery that happened during the Killing Fields regime.

On May 21, 2008 while the Pre-Trial Chamber of the Khmer Rouge tribunal was holding the hearing of appeal by former Khmer Rouge social actions minister Ieng Thirith against her provisional detention, Khieu Samphan suddenly suffered from hypertension and was sent to Calmette Hospital immediately. At the time, his co-defence lawyer Say Bory told reporters that Khieu Samphan was in a critical condition and paralysed on one side of his body, and that he could not speak clearly nor could he stand up. However, after several days of hospitalization, Khieu Samphan was brought back to his detention cell in the Khmer Rouge tribunal awaiting trial.

From June 30 to July 3, the Khmer Rouge tribunal heard Ieng Sary’s appeal against his provisional detention in which he has been charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes. After the four-day hearing, the Pre-Trial Chamber has not reached any verdict yet. Ieng Sary is in the most critical condition amongst the currently detained senior Khmer Rouge leaders and people most responsible for the Khmer Rouge regime as he has been hospitalised most frequently.

On July 9, the Pre-Trial Chamber announced the verdict on the appeal by Ieng Thirith against her provisional detention, deciding that Ieng Thirith must continue to be detained awaiting trial. Co-lawyers for Ieng Thirith have shown their great disappointment about the decision while civil society’s officials and observers are satisfied with the verdict since Ieng Thirith, who has been charged with crimes against humanity, cannot be released on bail. Cambodians living in the inside and outside of the country want the trial of the former Khmer Rouge leaders to get underway as soon as possible in order to reveal the masterminds of the Khmer Rouge and the reasons for the mass killings of at least 1.7 million people during the Killing Fields regime. If it is still delayed, those ageing former Khmer Rouge leaders being detained may die before the trial takes place. Especially, they want to know the relevant countries although the Law on the establishment of the Khmer Rouge tribunal does not state about those countries.

Observers of the Khmer Rouge tribunal have not believed that the hybrid tribunal could seek justice for Cambodian victims who were massacred during the “Killing Fields” regime because since its commencement, it has always been facing obstacles one after another. For instance, the tribunal is currently facing a severe budgetary crisis while the corruption scandals have not been cleared to gain faith amongst the international community and donor countries.  Furthermore, if the trial of the former senior Khmer Rouge leaders could not begin at the end of 2008, national and international communities will surely lose all confidence on the tribunal.

Unofficial Translation
-Extracted from Moneaksekar Khmer, vol. 15, #3512, Tuesday, July 15, 2008.


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