The Khmer Rouge tribunal on Tuesday announced that former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan had been charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity and placed in pretrial detention.
Lawyers for Khieu Samphan said they planned to appeal the detention order, though they declined to reveal the grounds on which it would be based.
The appeal would bring the number of the court’s defendants who are contesting their detention to at least four of the five currently being held.
A lawyer for former Khmer Rouge Minister of Social Action Ieng Thirith, formally detained with her husband on Nov 14, could not be reached Tuesday. Ieng Thirith is the only suspect whose appeal could not be confirmed.
The charges against Khieu Samphan were issued Monday after a lengthy appearance by the defendant and his lawyers before the tribunal’s co-investigating judges, international Investigating Judge Marcel Lemonde said Tuesday.
Khieu Samphan, the last to be arrested of the five suspects identified by prosecutors in July, was apprehended Monday at Phnom Penh’s Calmette Hospital and taken to the tribunal.
Lemonde said a marathon adversarial hearing began at 2:30 pm and concluded at 11 pm, but he declined to discuss the contents of discussions in advance of the release of the provisional detention order, which he said may be made public today.
“It was good because there was much to say,” said Lemonde, adding that Khieu Samphan’s lawyers, former Bar Association president Say Bory and the storied French defender Jacques Verges, had announced their decision to appeal the detention during the hearing.
At the tribunal premises Tuesday, Verges waved off requests for comment but drew the attention of photographers as he took a telephone call to argue over access to his client.
Say Bory said by telephone that Khieu Samphan’s defense expected to file notice of an appeal with the court as early as next week.
“We are contesting the [detention] decision to request his freedom,” Say Bory said, adding that grounds for the appeal would be forthcoming.
The defense met with Khieu Samphan for 30 minutes Tuesday evening in advance of Verges’ return to France today, Say Bory added.
Khieu Samphan was flown to Calmette Hospital on Nov 14 after collapsing at his Pailin home, however Say Bory said his client appeared to be in good physical and psychological condition.