Khmernews

Pre-Trial Chamber Yet to Respond to K Samphan’s Defense

Posted by khmernews on September 16, 2008

By Chan Chamnan
The co-defense lawyers for Khieu Samphan last week requested the Pre-Trial Chamber (PTC) hold the 20 October expected appeal hearing of Khieu Samphan against provisional detention on 23 October. However, the PTC has not yet responded to the lawyers’ request for Khieu Samphan.

An ECCC’s official said Sar Sovan, co-lawyer for Khieu Samphan, last week requested the PTC delay the bail appeal hearing of Khieu Samphan.

Sar Sovan said he and his French counterpart Jarges Verges have duties in other countries, and will not be able to participate in the scheduled hearing. It is unclear whether the 20 October hearing will be proceeding or not. Khieu Samphan or Comrade Hem, former regime head of state, was arrested by the Khmer Rouge tribunal on 19 November 2007 on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Now Khieu Samphan is being detained, awaiting trial. He is often taken to hospital.

Khieu Samphan suffered from high blood pressure on 21 May as the court held an appeal hearing by Ieng Thirith against provisional detention, a court official said.

Khieu Samphan’s illness was reportedly caused by his effort to write books in detention cell. Which books Khieu Samphan was writing is not known. Khieu Samphan then was hospitalized at Calmette Hospital several days before being discharged back to the detention facility.

Civil societies’ officials and observers are waiting for the 20 October hearing of Khieu Samphan, expecting that no postponement will be made; otherwise, the trial of former Tuol Sleng prison director Kaing Guek Eav aka Duch may also face a delay due to the unresolved complexity.

Thus, the PTC must respond to the request of the co-lawyers for Khieu Samphan soon though the decision on the requested delay or non-delay has not been made.

Khieu Samphan bragged that he was a patriot, adding that Vietnam had a deep connection with the Khmer Rouge regime, leaving some 1.7 million people dead.

Khieu Samphan’s assertion was immediately dismissed by Phnom Penh’s embassy spokespersons, claiming that what Khieu Samphan said was in unclear basis.

Amid such a dismissal by a Vietnam Embassy spokesman, Khieu Samphan has not showed evidence relating to the Vietnam in connection with the killing fields.

Former KR leaders are condemned for killing some 1.7 million people during their reign from 17 April 1975 to early January 1979. Among those leaders, no one claims responsibilities for the crimes committed in the killing fields.

Five jailed and trial-awaiting former KR leaders and those most responsible for include Nuon Chea, former president of people representative’s assembly; Ieng Sary, former deputy prime minister in charge of foreign affairs; Khieu Samphan, former head of state; Ieng Thirith, former social affairs; and Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, former chief of Tuol Sleng prison.

Civil societies’ officials and observers are waiting for whether the expected bail hearing could be running smoothly or not. If the hearing is more delayed, the tribunal is just sexy-sounding.

Tribunal monitors say if the court is willing to deliver justice to the people killed in the killing fields, the trial of Duch should begin as early as October though the court is facing funding shortfall. Otherwise, the court will not gain confidence from national and international community amid the unresolved corruption allegation scandal.

Some of civil societies’ officials expect that the October bail appeal hearing of Khieu Samphan will not face a delay as on 23 April 2008 hearing. Otherwise, the special court will lose credibility and the millions of dollars’ expenses will be in vain.

Unofficial translation
-Extracted from Moneaksekar Khmer – Vol 15, #3566 – Tuesday, 16 September, 2008.

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