Khieu Samphan Defense Withdraws Bail Motion

The defense for former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan have withdrawn a motion seeking his release on bail just six weeks before the expiry of his one-year pretrial detention, according to a notice submitted Wednesday to the Khmer Rouge tribunal.

Almost a year after Khieu Samphan’s November arrest, the court had not heard oral arguments in the bail appeal after French lawyer Jacques Verges refused to participate in an April hearing, complaining that he could not review the evidence against his client because it had not been translated into French.

The court’s Pre-Trial Chamber said early this month that the bail motion would be decided without oral arguments after defense lawyers Sa Sovan and Jacques Verges persisted in demanding translations before agreeing to appear at any hear­ing.

However, in a notice submitted Wednesday, Khieu Samphan’s defense team said it was withdrawing the 10-month-old motion for bail rather than allow it to be decided without oral arguments.

“A month before the end of the detention order, the Pre-Trial Chamber has decided that there shall be neither debate, nor effective defense on the matter of pretrial detention. The co-lawyers have been clear on their inability to participate effectively in defense of their client in the absence of translations,” the notice said, adding that the defense retained the right to appeal again in the future.

“The fact that the chamber has failed to rule on this subject has caused an unreasonable delay and is as such a violation of the fundamental rights of a person under investigation,” it added.

To prolong Khieu Samphan’s detention beyond Nov 19, the anniversary of his arrest, the court’s co-investigating judges are required to issue an order justifying his continued detention. The order will again be subject to appeal by the defense.

“If they prolong the detention, nothing prevents us from intervening immediately,” Sa Sovan said Friday, adding that no decision had as yet been made. “I must consult with Jacques Verges,” he said.


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