Khieu Samphan’s Request for Trial Delay Denied

The Trial Chamber at the Khmer Rouge tribunal on Friday denied a request from former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan, 82, who wanted the second phase of the trial against him to be delayed until a judgment and all potential appeals have been rendered in the first.

In a decision released on Friday, Trial Chamber President Nil Nonn said that “proceeding with Case 002/02 before any eventual judgment on appeal in Case 002/01 would safeguard the interests of both Accused, principally their rights to receive an expeditious trial and to achieve finality as soon as possible.”

Khieu Samphan’s request had been opposed by the Office of the Co-Prosecutors. They said such a move could stall proceedings by at least 18 months.

Similarly, lawyers representing civil parties in the case argued to the Trial Chamber that the former Khmer Rouge leader’s request had “no legal basis,” and that “a stay would not serve the interests of either judicial economy or the accused and the civil parties.”

The defense for Nuon Chea, 87, have been consistent in their stance that Case 002/02 commence as soon as possible, citing their client’s age and frail health.

Long Panhavuth, a program officer at the Cambodia Justice Initiative, said Khieu Samphan’s request for a delay was “not in the best interest of the right to a fair and expeditious trial, nor for the victim’s rights.”

“This decision to deny this request is good, ensuring an expeditious trial, but what I am disappointed to see is that until now, the Trial Chamber does not play a more leadership role,” Mr. Panhavuth said.

“There is no public information as to when the Trial Chamber is going to move forward with Case 002/02.”

In February, Judge Nonn ordered Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan to undergo health checks, after which a start date will be discussed. A verdict in Case 002/1 is due by June.

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