Ieng Sary Detention, Pardon Hearings Set for June

Arguments against the pretrial detention of former Khmer Rouge Foreign Minister Ieng Sary will be heard June 30, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cam­bodia decided Monday, setting a date for a hearing at which the de­fense will also argue that the court has no right to put him on trial.

Claiming in March that Ieng Sary’s health had markedly deteriorated, defense lawyers asked the court to place him in a hospital and to postpone considering an appeal in which he originally sought to be put under house arrest.

The defense then asked to be allowed to make separate oral arguments about Ieng Sary’s 1996 royal pardon for his 1979 conviction and death sentence in absentia before the Vietnamese-backed People’s Revolutionary Tribunal, which the defense says bars Ieng Sary from being tried again at the ECCC.

However, in a ruling released Friday, the Pre-Trial Chamber declined to postpone considering the appeal, saying it could be decided with the request to be confined to a hospital.

In a separate decision also dated April 30, the Chamber ruled that oral arguments about the pardon could be made at the appeal hearing.

In what was apparently its first decision overturning a ruling by the court’s co-investigating judges, the chamber also ruled last week that Ieng Sary, 82, and his wife, former Social Action Minister Ieng Thirith, 76, have the right to visit each other while in detention.

In an e-mail Tuesday, Ieng Sary’s international lawyer, Mi­chael Karnavas, sought to clarify that the defense had not sought “conjugal visits” for their client as had previously been reported.

“We asked for Mr Ieng Sary to have supervised contact with his wife,” Karnavas wrote. “This means that he would be within sight and sound of guards watching and listening to all movements and conversations.”

Originally scheduled for May 20, a closed-door hearing for Brother No 2 Nuon Chea was also canceled Tuesday as his Dutch lawyers said they could not attend.

The defense is seeking to have statements stricken which Nuon Chea made in the absence of a lawyer. The Pre-Trial Chamber ruled Tuesday it could decide the motion based on written pleadings alone.

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