Evidence against former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan will be discussed privately in his upcoming bail hearing while other arguments against his detention may be open to the public, the Khmer Rouge tribunal has ruled.
In a separate decision, also dated Monday and made public Wednesday, the court’s Pre-Trial Chamber ruled that lawyers for the ailing former Khmer Rouge Foreign Minister Ieng Sary have until 4 pm March 24 to submit arguments pertaining to his 1979 death sentence by the Vietnamese-backed People’s Revolutionary Tribunal and his 1996 royal pardon.
Say Bory and Jacques Verges, lawyers for Khieu Samphan, have sought to make his upcoming bail hearing public, but prosecutors object to the idea, saying some defense arguments concern evidence that must remain secret for the duration of investigations.
Monday’s ruling, which does not set a date for the hearing, appeared to acknowledge concerns both for the secrecy of investigations and for public access to the hearing.
Say Bory said Wednesday that most of the evidence in question was already public record and that the public had been waiting 30 years to hear Khieu Samphan’s arguments.
He said the investigation’s secrecy meant that he could not explain whether the defense was seeking an acquittal at the pretrial stage by challenging the evidence against Khieu Samphan.
“There you’re asking a question and I cannot talk because it’s secret. I’d like very much to talk,” Say Bory said.
Ang Udom, defense lawyer for Ieng Sary, said he would struggle to prepare submissions on the 1979 conviction and 1996 pardon in the time allotted by the court.
“We have only 15 days. It’s not enough. And they limited the number of pages. We can’t do it in 15 pages,” he said.
In appealing Ieng Sary’s detention in January, his lawyers said they wished to discuss the conviction and pardon “at a more appropriate time.”
Ang Udom said prosecutors have argued that in doing so, Ieng Sary waived his right to argue these matters. In response, he said, the defense sought either a ruling to the contrary or permission to submit arguments by April 7.
The defense feels questions of the conviction and pardon are separate from arguments for the grounds for detention, he said.